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    BP Settles with California

    Oil company slapped with more than $45 million in fines and improvements.

    SAN FRANCISCO -- BP Plc has agreed to a $45 million settlement with California over allegations BP-owned Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) failed to meet state law requiring upgrades of underground fuel storage tanks.

    As part of the settlement, the London-based oil company will pay $25 million in fines and $20.8 million for improvements of the tanks at gas stations across the state. The settlement was the largest of its kind in state history, according to The New York Times.

    California State Attorney General Bill Lockyer had accused the company of falsely certifying that the tanks had been made leak-proof. He also said BP "failed to upgrade the tanks at 59 gas stations during the 10-year window that began in 1987 when the state implemented new guidelines for improving the storage tanks," the report said.

    A BP company spokeswoman, Cheryl Burnett, said the company acted in good faith. She said that more than 100 agencies oversee the tanks in California and that some of the allegations resulted from differences in interpreting regulations.

    ARCO, with 1,178 gas stations in California, is the state's largest gasoline supplier. It merged with London-based BP in 2000. BP operates more than 3,800 convenience stores in the United States.

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