Madigan's Before & After Suit

Seeks civil penalty of $60,000 per violation; more per-day

CHICAGO -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed suit earlier this week against the corporate owner and lessee of 28 gas stations throughout the state where between 1989 and 2001, leaking underground storage tanks allegedly saturated the soil and contaminated groundwater.

Premcor Refining Group Inc., formerly known as Clark Refining & Marketing Inc., a Delaware corporation, is named in the four-count complaint filed today in Cook County Circuit Court. The suit alleges that at least 33 releases of gasoline and other petroleum products which [image-nocss] occurred at former Clark facilities resulted in elevated levels of benzene, a known human carcinogen, in groundwater, and that contaminated soil still remains under 23 of the sites today.

Between January 1989 and February 2001, Clark, which in 2000 changed its name to the Premcor Refining Group, owned or leased the 28 station sites at which the alleged gasoline leaks occurred.

Underground tank leaks, especially those left to linger for years, present a serious environmental threat and public safety threat that must be corrected, Madigan said.

In addition to allegations of water pollution and creating a water pollution hazard, the suit alleges Premcor failed to submit in a timely manner to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) a number of the required 20-day and 45-day reports that are designed to provide details on initial cleanup measures and later site investigations at several of the locations.

Madigan's suit seeks a civil penalty of $50,000 per violation and an additional penalty of $10,000 for each day the violation continued on and after July 1, 1990. Additionally, the suit seeks a civil penalty of $10,000 per violation and an additional penalty of $1,000 for each day the violations continued prior to July 1, 1990.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Rebecca Burlingham is handling the case for Madigan's Environmental Bureau. Stations named in the complaint are in 17 counties, in the towns of Quincy, Mattoon, Glenwood, Westmont, Effingham, Benton, Kewanee, Streator, Rosewood Heights, Granite City, Edwardsville, Granite City, Pontoon Beach, Centralia, Salem, Bloomington, Normal, Peoria, Rock Island, Silvis, Moline, Harrisburg, Shelbyville, East St. Louis, Cahokia, Washington Park and Romeoville.