California Regulators Sue BP Over 'Dirty Gas'

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California Regulators Sue BP Over 'Dirty Gas'


MARTINEZ, Calif. -- A new lawsuit alleges BP delivered tens of millions of gallons of gasoline that did not meet California's clean fuel specifications to the city of Martinez, and it was subsequently sold across the state.

State regulators filed the suit on Wednesday. According to the Mercury News, BP submitted documents over a four-month period to regulators that said gasoline refined in Washington and shipped to Contra Costa County contained permissible levels of toxic and cancer-causing compounds, including benzene, when, in fact, the fuel failed to meet state standards, the lawsuit said.

"It's a chemistry measurement issue," Stanley Young, spokesman for the California Air Resources Board (CARB), told the newspaper. "You'd think a petroleum company that prides itself on its chemistry would be able to do these straightforward measurements."

Young said it was not clear whether the company simply made errors or deliberately misled regulators, but BP is a "repeat offender" that has been fined by the board more than 30 times for clean fuel violations over the past 10 years.

In an e-mailed statement to the news outlet, a company spokesman said BP had not reviewed the lawsuit. "However, BP has engaged in discussion with CARB since (2009) to address the agency's concerns about this issue. Unfortunately, BP and CARB could not reach a resolution," company spokesman Scott D. Dean wrote.

"I should also add that we are disappointed that CARB filed this action without any notice to us," Dean wrote in a second e-mail. "When we last met with CARB six months ago, we believed we had addressed their concerns regarding this matter."

In all, about 85 million gallons of "dirty gasoline" was sold by BP through storage tanks and pipelines along the Martinez shore, according to CARB. The violations occurred during shipments between December 2008 and March 2009, Young said.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Contra Costa Superior Court, seeks unspecified damages.