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Court Orders Two Massachusetts Companies to Comply with Environmental Laws and Pay $1.3 Million in Penalties

Contact Information: 
David Deegan (
(617) 918-1017

BOSTON – The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently ordered R.M. Packer Company, Inc., and Tisbury Towing and Transportation Co., Inc., to comply with environmental laws and pay penalties of $1.3 million to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had cited numerous violations and urged the companies to come into compliance with federal and state environmental laws.

The two related Massachusetts companies distribute gasoline and other petroleum products. The court established a four-year time period for the companies to pay the penalties associated with this case.

"This decision shows that EPA and the Department of Justice are committed to holding accountable those entities that fail to comply with critical laws that protect clean air and clean water," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "Once these two companies take the measures required by the court's order, they will reduce their environmental impacts in the communities where they do business."

R.M. Packer, which owns and operates a petroleum bulk fuel terminal on Beach Road in Tisbury, Massachusetts, was cited for violations of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Specifically, the court found that R.M. Packer violated the federal Clean Air Act and applicable Massachusetts regulations by failing to properly operate and maintain emission control equipment, failing to repair vapor leaks from equipment and failing to inspect, document and report on operations. Gasoline vapors contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants such as benzene.

The court also found that R.M. Packer failed to comply with industrial stormwater requirements under the Clean Water Act. Stormwater runoff from the R.M. Packer facility contains contaminants that threaten the sensitive coastal waters of Lagoon Pond and Vineyard Haven Harbor. To protect these resources, EPA's industrial stormwater permit requires R.M. Packer to implement stormwater controls, known as best management practices, to filter out pollutants and/or prevent pollution by controlling it at its source. The court found that R.M. Packer failed to install and maintain proper stormwater best management practices for boat cleaning operations, waste stockpiles, and oil and waste storage containers. In addition to ordering R.M. Packer to fully comply with stormwater requirements, the court ordered R.M. Packer to comply with facility requirements for implementation of the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan, and the Facility Response Plan.

Tisbury Towing operates fuel barges that transport gasoline and other petroleum products between its pier on Herman Melville Boulevard in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and local destinations including the R.M. Packer terminal in Tisbury. The court found that Tisbury Towing failed to comply with Massachusetts Air Pollution Control regulations by failing to meet requirements for demonstrating vapor-tightness and failing to obtain an emission control plan.

Excess emissions of VOCs and benzene from the R.M. Packer and Tisbury Towing operations threaten human health and the environment. Benzene is a component of gasoline that may produce adverse health effects including cancer. VOCs contribute to the formation of ground level ozone. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, particularly for sensitive populations including children, elderly, and those with lung diseases, such as asthma. Ground level ozone can also have harmful effects on sensitive vegetation and ecosystems.

More information on EPA enforcement of environmental laws