Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) will pay $11.5 million as a settlement in a lawsuit for breaching the anti-pollution laws.
The two energy companies based in Texas were involved in the lawsuit that was filed at the beginning of 2013. The residents of the affected areas complained that both companies had failed to uphold the law in maintaining the underground fuel storage tanks. The complaints affected a total of about 560 fuel service stations that belong to the two companies were involved in the lawsuit.
Some of the shortcomings mentioned in the complaints include failure to test subordinate control systems, failure to carry out regular monthly assessments, lack of a follow-up system to ensure that devices used to detect leaks are regularly maintained. They were also accused of not making sure that their employees are trained in the proper protocol. The allegations were presided by Attorney General Kamala Harris.
In one of his statements, Harris stated that the two companies failed to ensure sufficient checkups to watch out for harmful materials that may be deposited in the fuel storage tanks. He also cited that those impurities could be potentially hazardous to water storage reserves located in the surrounding areas.
The statement by AG. Harris holds ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 responsible for risky carelessness. The lawsuit will also ensure that the two firms comply with the environmental regulations in the future in order to maintain public safety.
The lawsuit involving the two oil companies has in turn fueled further widespread investigations for potentially dangerous waste products and materials involved in law violation. The investigations will be carried out in fuel stations in over 34 countries. The expensive lawsuit and investigations have pushed Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips to sell most of their interests in their underground fuel storage facilities within Texas.
The unfortunate affair will adversely affect performance plans for both companies. It certainly hasn’t been an admirable second quarter for the two and following up in the future will only get stricter. Especially with the spotlight on them.