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State fines Shell Oil for storage tank violations

Newsday

A joint venture of Shell Oil and Saudi Refining Inc. was fined $350,000 for petroleum storage violations at two dozen New York Shell stations, state environmental officials said Friday. Houston-based Motiva Enterprises will also pay for a wider audit to check compliance at 88 more stations, including 40 on Long Island.

Among those to be inspected are 17 in Nassau and 23 in Suffolk with Motiva-owned storage equipment. The audit will check for aging storage tanks that could allow fuel to contaminate soil and groundwater.

Motiva Enterprises, which refines and markets fuel at nearly 8,000 Shell stations in the United States, agreed to the penalty under the terms of a consent order with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The firm will hire an independent consultant to conduct the investigation and pay for cleanup of any spills it uncovers.

The company must also set aside $200,000 for a project with a “positive environmental impact” in the communities where the violations occurred, DEC officials said. 

The agreement announced Friday stemmed from a DEC investigation that uncovered older technology – such as single-walled storage tanks – and fuel leaks from degraded equipment at 24 stations in New York, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley.

Motiva is removing and, in some cases, replacing those tanks with double-walled storage equipment under an earlier consent order, said DEC spokeswoman Maureen Wren.

“Because all these other Shell facilities are likely in similar condition because of age, Motiva came to DEC and said maybe we should look at these others as well,” Wren said.

Motiva spokeswoman Robin Lebovitz said in a statement the company had responded to the DEC’s concerns about steel-lined underground tank and “proactively initiated an audit and remediation process of all stations.”

The company will also provide assistance to retail stations’ operators to help them maintain better compliance in the future, she said.

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