Attorney General Xavier Becerra Announces $3 Million Order for Payment of Civil Penalties from Golden Gate Petroleum for Underground Fuel Storage Tank Violations

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that the Contra Costa Superior Court yesterday ordered a payment of $3 million in civil penalties in the case People v. Golden Gate Petroleum, et al. The penalties are to be paid by the defendants, the owners and operators of underground storage tank systems at retail gasoline stations in several counties in Northern California: Golden Gate Petroleum, Bay Area/Diablo Petroleum Company, Dennis O’Keefe, and Westgate Petroleum Company, Inc.

The defendants had been sued in 2007 for violations of environmental protection laws at their retail service stations. Those violations included failing to comply with requirements related to monitoring, inspection, and maintenance of underground storage tanks and underground storage tank systems; tampering with or disabling leak detection devices; and improperly handling hazardous wastes and hazardous substances. 

The action was settled in 2011, and the Defendants were ordered to pay $3 million in penalties and costs and to comply with specific environmental protection requirements.  The Contra Costa Superior Court suspended an additional $3 million in penalties if the Defendants complied with those requirements.  The Defendants did not comply. The order announced today is the result of the Attorney General’s enforcement of the environmental protection requirements in the settlement.

“As the state’s chief enforcer of laws that protect our environment, I will use my independent authority to safeguard our public health and welfare whenever appropriate,” said Attorney General Becerra. “I am pleased that this order held accountable those who would jeopardize our health and water supply. It should send a message to all environmental offenders that we are serious about protecting Californians and our environment. I want to thank my predecessor Attorney General Kamala Harris for her earlier pursuit of the enforcement of the suspended penalty, as well as Deputy Attorney General Reed Sato, our Office’s lead.”

Attorney General Becerra was joined in this environmental enforcement action by the offices of Alameda District Attorney Nancy E. O'Malley; Humboldt District Attorney Maggie Fleming; Lake District Attorney Don Anderson; Mendocino District Attorney Charles David Eyster; Monterey District Attorney Dean D. Flippo;  Santa Clara District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen; and Sonoma District Attorney Jill Ravitch.

A copy of the order is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.

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