Los Angeles Chain Fined

SAN DIEGO -- A federal judge here fined a Los Angeles-based oil company $15,000 yesterday for violating the Clean Air Act.

Buy Rite Express, which operates approximately 20 convenience stores, pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the 1977 act in the third such case in the nation, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Pierson said the cases are rare because prosecutors have to prove that a company was still violating the law 30 days after being notified of the crime.

In the Buy Rite case, one of the chain's gas stations in National City was notified in 1998 that the station's system to capture harmful gasoline fumes wasn't working, Pierson said. Inspectors later found that the station hadn't fixed the system.

Buy Rite has since sold the National City gas station, and the chain no longer owns stations in San Diego County, Pierson said.
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