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2004-11-21
Gainesville, FL. Wal-Mart Fined For Used Oil Tank Violations.

The Associated Press reported this week that state officials in Florida have fined Wal-Mart $750,000 for breaking state laws regarding oil storage tanks at their Tire & Lube Express stations. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) charged that the giant retailer had not registered its above ground oil storage tanks, and failed to install required valves to prevent overflow spills. Ooops! This wasn't just a couple of slip-ups. Wal-Mart has 75 Tire & Lube outlets, each with tanks where workers dump used oil. None of these 75 locations were registered with the state, so Wal-Mart broke the law in all locations. Unregistered tanks means that if there were any leaks into the ground, the state would never have known about the contamination. Wal-Mart defended its actions by pleading ignorance of the law. "When we were made aware of this situation," a spokesperson said, "we took immediate action to get this corrected and to be in compliance. There has been no evidence of any adverse effect to the environment." State inspectors said further that Wal-Mart had failed to conduct monthly monitoring of their tanks, and had no equipment in place to prevent overflows, and, best of all, blocked state inspectors from reviewing maintenance records. The company also failed to submit proper insurance documents. The Florida DEP is requiring Wal-Mart to install overflow protection devices to meet state standards, and to begin monitoring all storage tanks, while starting new storage tank training for all Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express managers. The state fined Wal-Mart $19,000 for each of the 75 station violations. News reports didn't say anything further about making Wal-Mart give them access to their records next time.


What you can do: Since Wal-Mart is strapped for cash, Florida officials agreed to allow the company to avoid some of the fines by building an "alternative energy project" at one of its Florida stores. How about hydrogen-powered cars for Wal-Mart lobbyists, so they can save fuel dollars on their trips back and forth to the Florida State House making political contributions to friendly lawmakers? That would save energy.










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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