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    Clark Retail Accused of Gas Leaks

    Illinois sues chain over alleged underground contamination at multiple sites.

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The news at Clark Retail Enterprises Inc. yesterday went from bad to worse.

    Just hours after announcing it would sell off it remaining retail assets, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan made public a lawsuit against Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain, alleging contamination from leaks at underground storage tanks at sites in Danville, Fairfield and more than a dozen other gas stations in the state.

    The lawsuit charges Clark with on-site groundwater impacts; contamination beyond the station's property lines; and failure to submit required reports to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Danville incident, which Madigan said occurred last May.

    The complaint also alleges that the Fairfield leak resulted in on-site groundwater impacts and that Clark again failed to submit necessary reports regarding the incident, which Madigan's office said occurred Sept. 27, 2001.

    In total, the lawsuit cites 27 separate gas leaks at 24 different Clark filling stations over the last four years. Madigan's suit contains allegations of 47 violations that could result in civil penalties of $50,000 each, and she is also seeking $10,000 a day for each day during which a violation occurred. The attorney general has also asked the court to require Clark to investigate and clean up any contamination caused by the spills.

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