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Congressional candidate fined for failing to test store's fuel tanks

EUPORA — Republican congressional candidate Henry Ross is paying a $1,000 fine for failing to test fuel tanks at his north Mississippi convenience store.

Ross told The Associated Press he mailed the check yesterday to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, which found that he failed to test one or more of the gas tanks at his vacant Eupora store within a required three-year period.

Ross, a lawyer and former Eupora mayor, said a gasoline distributor was responsible for testing at the station, which is located at the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 182 in downtown Eupora. He said he received a notice from the state agency in June telling him to do the work.

Rules call for gas station owners to test the cathodic protection of gas tanks to make sure corrosion prevention systems are still working, keeping gasoline from leaking into the ground. All underground storage tanks installed after 1988 either have to be made of non-corroding material or coated and protected with bars of metal that attract corrosion away from the tank.

Ross agreed to the order in December. It was published as part of the agenda for the February meeting of the Commission on Environmental Quality. Environmental officials issue orders each month assessing fines or penalties to people who break rules.

The store has been closed for more than a year, but Ross said he had recently agreed to rent it to a new tenant.

Ross is making his second bid for the 1st District congressional seat, challenging incumbent U.S. Rep Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, in the March 13 primary. Ross finished second to Nunnelee in the 2010 Republican primary. Nunnelee went on to defeat Democratic incumbent Travis Childers, winning his first term in Congress

Robert Estes of Southaven is also a candidate in this year’s GOP primary. The Republican nominee will face Democrat Brad Morris of Oxford in November’s general election.

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