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Yuba County DA joins environmental suit

Yuba County District Attorney Patrick McGrath has joined state Attorney General Kamala Harris and other California district attorneys in suing two major gas retailers for almost seven years worth of environmental violations.

Atlantic Richfield Co., BP West Coast Products and BP Products North America Inc. were named in the suit filed Feb. 1 in Alameda County Superior Court.

The lawsuit alleges that ARCO and BP violated state laws governing hazardous materials and hazardous waste by failing to properly maintain and inspect underground storage tanks at more than 780 California gas stations since 2006.

McGrath said the ARCO station in Marysville is not specifically included in the civil complaint, but that it is important for Yuba County to be represented in the process as a reminder that hazardous waste issues and ground water contamination are not just "big county" problems. There are no BP stations in Yuba County.

McGrath said the violations are examples of almost every way the laws and regulations can be broken. Failures to inspect gas tanks, properly train employees, and ensure the proper operation and integrity of leak systems were among the infractions. The companies are also accused of disabling detection devices and mishandling hazardous materials.

"Frankly, I was appalled at the number and type of violations, and how pervasive they appeared throughout the state for such a long period of time," McGrath said.

Calls to BP's public relations sector in Los Angeles County on Tuesday were not returned.

CONTACT Griffin Rogers at grogers@appealdemocrat.com or 749-4783. Find him on Facebook at /ADgriffinrogers or on Twitter at @ADgriffinrogers.


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