Low prices, high fines

Walmart hit for enviro-violations

Walmart Stores, Inc. has agreed to pay more than $81 million after pleading guilty in federal courts in Los Angeles and San Francisco May 28 to violating federal and state environmental laws.

The mega-store franchise pleaded to six counts of violating the federal Clean Water Act by illegally handling and disposing of hazardous materials at stores across the country.

The case comes three years after the store agreed to pay $27 million in fines for similar environmental violations of state law. The Chico Walmart was part of that settlement; the store was charged with improper storage of chemicals and failure to train employees on how to respond to spills of hazardous materials.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, who helped prosecute that case, said the new federal case was an “echo” of the state case, and that the local store appears to be better heeding environmental law.