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Petroleum companies ordered to pay $3M in civil penalties

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MONTEREY COUNTY — Contra Costa Superior Court has ordered Golden Gate Petroleum Co., Bay Area/Diablo Petroleum Company and Westgate Petroleum Company, Inc. to pay $3 million in civil penalties related to the operation of underground storage tanks and management of hazardous materials and wastes.

The order was issued on March 13, following a contested hearing that took place Feb. 9. The action was brought in the name of the People of the State of California by the California Attorney General and the District Attorneys of Monterey, Alameda, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Humboldt, Lake, and Mendocino counties.

The People had previously brought a lawsuit and obtained a judgment against the defendants in 2011 for an injunction and $6 million in civil penalties, of which $3 million in civil penalties were suspended conditioned on the defendants strict compliance with the injunction. However, the defendants committed violations of the injunction at 10 different locations, including the Golden Gate Petroleum facility located on San Juan Road in Monterey County.

As a result, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office joined with the other offices in bringing this action to have the previously suspended $3 million in penalties assessed against the companies.

The District Attorney’s Office brings actions such as these to protect public health and safety and to ensure that businesses comply with their legal responsibilities to safeguard the environment.

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