June 30, 2006
Lebanon, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon has filed a lawsuit against the owners of five gas stations in Laclede and Wright counties for their repeated refusal to comply with a state law designed to protect the health and safety of community residents.
A petition filed today in Laclede County Circuit Court alleges that Lee and Albert L. Malone of Norwood, owners of five convenience stores in Lebanon, Richland, Conway and Mansfield, have committed multiple violations of Missouri's Underground Petroleum Storage Tank Law. The Malones face the possibility of heavy fines and a potential court order preventing them from refilling their gasoline storage tanks.
The stations involved are located at the following addresses:
“The vast majority of businesses that dispense fuel responsibly abide by the state's underground storage tank laws,” Nixon said. “Those that do not must be held accountable for both disrespecting the law and disregarding the health and safety of the community. Our laws governing the underground storage of gasoline were put in place for good reason: to prevent contamination of our water supply, pollution of the soil, and situations that could out the safety of the community in peril.”
As cited in the lawsuit, the defendants were issued a violation in February 2004 for failure to comply with a state regulation requiring insurance or other proof of financial responsibility at one of their stations in Lebanon. Subsequently, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has noted several additional violations, including failure to:
Nixon is asking the court to impose a fine of up to $10,000 a day for each violation, order the Malones to bring each store into full compliance with Missouri law, prevent each store from selling or accepting deliveries of petroleum products until they are in full compliance, and order the defendants to pay the state's cost of bringing the lawsuit. The lawsuit also stipulates that if the defendants fail to bring all storage tanks at each facility into compliance in a timely manner, they will be prohibited from using such tanks at their facilities for more than one year.
Nixon's office has been a leader in ensuring that the owners of the approximately 15,000 underground storage tanks in Missouri were complying with state and federal laws requiring them to have sufficient financial coverage for the tanks in case of spills or other environmental problems.