Eighty-five million gallons of gasoline with levels of toxic and cancer-causing compounds exceeding California health standards, was shipped to Martinez and sold across the state by BP, according to a lawsuit filed by state regulators.
The Mercury News reports, BP submitted documents over a four-month period to regulators that said gasoline refined in Washington and shipped to Contra Costa County contained permissible levels of the compounds, when, in fact, the fuel failed to meet California's clean fuel specifications, the lawsuit says.
"It's a chemistry measurement issue," Stanley Young, a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board, told the Mercury News.
Young said its not clear whether the company simply made errors or deliberately misled regulators, but BP is a "repeat offender" that has been fined by the board more than 30 times for clean fuel violations over the past 10 years.
The violations named in the suit occurred between December 2008 and March 2009. Eight shipments contained a class of chemicals called aromatic hydrocarbons, at levels about 10 percent higher than BP said.
Some aromatic hydrocarbons are toxic and can cause cancer. In addition, they lead to increased smog.
In all, about 85 million gallons of the dirty gasoline was sold by BP through storage tanks and pipelines along the Martinez shore, the air board said. That's enough fuel to run 170,000 cars for a year
In an emailed statement, a company spokesman said BP had not reviewed the lawsuit, which was filed in Contra Costa Superior Court and seeks unspecified damages.