By KRISTIN JONES
Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips have been accused of violating California environmental laws by failing to properly maintain underground gas storage tanks, the state's attorney general's office said.
In a civil lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court, the state accused the companies of tampering with leak detection devices, and failing to test secondary containment systems and maintain alarm systems, among other violations.
ConocoPhillips spun off its downstream business, including retail operations, as Phillips 66 last year as part of a three-year restructuring plan aimed at improving the company's finances.
Daren Beaudo, a spokesman for ConocoPhillips, said Wednesday that the California lawsuit "is [Phillips 66's] issue on which to comment, not ours."
Phillips 66 spokeswoman Janet Grothe said the company doesn't comment on legal matters.
The companies were also accused of improperly handling and disposing of hazardous wastes associated with the tanks, which are used to store fuel for retail sale at more than 560 California gas stations.
"The state's hazardous waste laws help protect our residents from contaminated groundwater," Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said. "This lawsuit safeguards public health by ensuring proper maintenance of the tanks that store fuel beneath many California communities."
Dow Jones Newswires