Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips sued by California over tanks

ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 (PSX) were sued by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who accused the oil producer and the refiner it spun off last year of environmental violations at more than 560 gasoline stations.

Harris and seven county district attorneys filed a complaint today in state court in Oakland seeking an order forcing the companies to comply with California’s laws for underground gasoline storage tanks as well as unspecified civil penalties for violating the state’s health and safety code.

“The state’s hazardous waste laws help protect our residents from contaminated groundwater,” Harris said in a statement. “This lawsuit safeguards public health by ensuring proper maintenance of the tanks that store fuel beneath many California communities.”

The complaint accuses the Houston-based companies of improperly monitoring, inspecting and maintaining the underground storage tanks. The companies also improperly handled hazardous waste and materials associated with the storage tanks, the attorney general said.

The assets and liabilities of the retail locations are no longer part of ConocoPhillips (COP) and are owned by Phillips 66, Daren Beaudo, a spokesman for ConocoPhillips, said in an e-mail.

Janet Grothe, a Phillips 66 spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that the company doesn’t comment on legal matters.

The case is The People v. Phillips 66, RG13661894, Superior Court of California, Alameda County (Oakland).