May 24, 2007
Jefferson City, Mo. — The owners of six gas station sites around the state are putting human health and the environment at risk by violating the Missouri Underground and Petroleum Storage Tank (UST) Law despite being given numerous opportunities to comply with the law, Attorney General Jay Nixon says. Nixon filed lawsuits this week against gas station owners in St. Louis, Columbia, Hannibal, Boonville, Vienna and Senath to require them to follow the law.
The lawsuits involve four stations currently operating, one that is out of business, and property that contains underground storage tanks that are no longer in use. In each case, Nixon said, the defendants refused consent judgments that contained reasonable time schedules for getting into compliance with Missouri’s UST law and appropriate civil penalties, necessitating the need for litigation.
“Underground storage tanks that are not in compliance with our state laws can pose a serious threat to the health of Missourians and to the state’s environment,” Nixon said. “The fact that each of these defendants were given multiple opportunities to resolve their non-compliance issues and failed to do so leaves us with no alternative but to see them in court.”
The owners and stations that are being targeted by the Attorney General are:
UST insurance helps ensure that the costs of cleaning up any petroleum product contamination from underground storage tanks will be covered by the owners and not borne by taxpayers. The vast majority of UST owners carry such insurance, Nixon said, creating an unfair advantage for those who flout the law.
The lawsuits are asking the courts to issue preliminary and permanent injunctions ordering the defendants in each case to immediately bring their sites into compliance with the Missouri UST law. The injunctions include barring the defendants from refilling their tanks at the site, accepting deliveries of petroleum or selling gas until they have obtained appropriate UST insurance. The lawsuit also asks the court to order the defendants to pay appropriate civil penalties and court costs.