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Shell Settlement: $19.5 Million over Environmental Violations

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By Kamika Dunlap on November 12, 2009 5:50 AM

Shell Oil Co. will have to clean up its act.

The company has agreed to pay $19.5 million to settle claims by California Attorney General Jerry Brown that the it violated state environmental laws.

The settlement requires Shell to improve its storage and monitoring of possible fuel leaks and employee training.

"Shell Oil Company disregarded the state's underground fuel storage and hazardous waste laws, committing hundreds of environmental violations at its gasoline stations across California," Brown said in a statement.

The company denied wrongdoing and said it has been working to resolve the issue since 2006, when Brown's office began its investigation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
During a three-year investigation, Brown said his office and the California State Water Resources Control Board inspected more than 1,000 Shell stations.

Hundreds of environmental violations were found statewide. Inspectors found problems with spill alarms, waste storage and disposal, company inspections, record-keeping and emergency plans, officials said.

The settlement requires Shell to take immediate steps to improve. Here's a quick list of the changes the company needs to make.

  • Implement a "smart" monitoring system with programmable sensors to monitor for fuel leaks and other environmental alarms
  • Provide annual compliance and emergency response training sessions to employees, contractors, consultants, retailers and operators
  • Complete a health, safety, security and environmental checklist to monitor, assess and address compliance issues
  • Maintain an underground storage tank equipment database and checklist

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