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    Central Oil Fined

    Tank leaks lead to a $150,000 settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

    MONROE, La. -- The Environmental Protection Agency continued its aggressive crackdown on leaky underground storage tanks (USTs) this week reaching a $150,000 settlement with Central Oil & Supply Corp. over 43 alleged violations of gas storage regulations.

    Central Oil and Supply Corp. was cited in June 2000, for the violations at six Harde Mart convenience stores in Monroe and West Monroe, the EPA said. The violations were for failure to equip underground storage tanks and pipes with adequate leak detectors, corrosion protection and other devices to detect and prevent gas leaks, according to The Monroe (La.) News-Star. The company operates 22 convenience stores, all with Texaco-branded fuel, in Louisiana.

    Central Oil has declined comment.

    In a consent agreement, the company did not admit or deny wrongdoing but agreed to install anti-leak devices and also have underground tanks tested for leaks, the report said.

    Louisiana, like other rural states, has a high rate of violations of gas storage regulations, said Cynthia Fanning, an EPA spokeswoman in Dallas. The EPA has increased enforcement and oversight in Louisiana, both because of the number of violators and because much of the state has a high water table and vulnerable water supply, she added.

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