Florence, OR -

Peace Harbor Medical Center in Florence has been fined more than $6,000 for operating an underground fuel storage tank without a state permit since 1989.

The state Department of Environmental Quality says Peace Harbor also missed a 1998 deadline to upgrade the tank's metal parts to prevent corrosion and failure.

The Register-Guard newspaper reports (http://is.gd/WhqqY4 ) the hospital is appealing. Hospital officials claim that correspondence dating back to 2002 shows that state officials were aware of the storage tank and said the hospital was compliant with state law at that time.

The two parties are set to discuss the appeal next month. Peace Harbor already has paid the state $1,700 to cover 24 years of missed permit fees.