Utah Sues BP for Using State Money to Clean Up Spills

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is suing BP Amoco for using state money to clean up fuel spills from leaky storage tanks beneath gas stations, according to a Daily Herald report. According to Shurtleff, the company had its own insurance policies that covered cleanup and it was not entitled to nearly $1.5 million from Utah's Petroleum Storage Tank Fund.

The lawsuit, filed in 3rd District Court, alleges that BP Amoco submitted fraudulent claims from 1995 to 2007, reported KSL.com. The suit also states that BP Amoco did not disclose its private insurance, which would have made it ineligible for reimbursement from the state.

The Petroleum Storage Tank Fund, established in 1989, assists owners and operators of gas stations with costs when a tank leaks. Members of the fund are assessed a surcharge on the fuel they dispense to help pay for a cleanup if one becomes necessary. Fund provisions dictate that station operators pay for the first $10,000 in associated costs, and the fund will pay up to $1 or $2 million depending when the leak occurred, according to the report.

The lawsuit, brought on behalf of the Utah Division of Environmental Remediation and Response, is the second one the state has filed against an oil company this year. In July, it alleged that ConocoPhillips accepted $25 million in payment for cleanup of storage tank leaks, misrepresenting that it had no other insurance.

BP Amoco Spokesman Scott Dean stated that the company had no comment on the lawsuit.

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