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    UDS Funds San Francisco Bay Study

    Independent refiner and marketer donates $42,000 for dioxin research.

    The UDS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of San Antonio-based Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp. (UDS) said it would contribute $42,000 to help supplement a study of dioxin concentrations in San Francisco Bay sediments.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting the study, which will allow researchers to assess the potential magnitude of dioxin accumulation in sediments.

    UDS, which is merging with Valero Energy Corp., owns and operates more than 1,500convenience stores, including several hundred in California.

    "This study exemplifies UDS' commitment to the environment. The funding allows the researchers to expand the scope of the project," said Bill Haywood, vice president of West Coast refining and general manager of the oil company's Golden Eagle Refinery.

    Information gathered from the study and subsequent chemical analyses will have a bearing on how the region decides to develop a rational, scientifically sound strategy for reducing dioxin concentrations in bay fish. "San Francisco Bay is one of America's most beautiful bodies of water," Haywood said. "It's also a great source of seafood and recreation, and we want to do our part to ensure its continued beauty and cleanliness for generations to come."

    Sediment samples from the Bay were collected this past summer. The EPA had funds to pay for analysis of 30 samples, but scientists said 20 additional samples were needed to increase the level of confidence in the study. The UDS Foundation's contribution will underwrite analysis of 20 additional samples.

    The EPA expects to know the results of the analysis this fall. "EPA is grateful for UDS Foundation participation in this multi-agency effort," said EPA spokesperson Alexis Strauss. "The leadership in working with the community and with us will help us understand this vexing environmental problem."

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