For Immediate Release - July 31, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Sues Boston Company for Illegally Leasing Hazardous Waste License to Unlicensed Company

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office filed a complaint in Suffolk Superior Court against Auto Body Solvent Recovery Corp. (Auto Body) alleging that the company illegally leased its license to transport hazardous waste within Massachusetts to an unlicensed company. The lawsuit, filed yesterday, alleges this lease agreement allowed an unlicensed company to transport hazardous waste on public roads in violation of the state's Hazardous Waste Management Act. The complaint seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting Auto Body from leasing or transferring its hazardous waste transport license to any other company, as well as civil penalties for violation of the Commonwealth's environmental laws.

"Massachusetts' hazardous waste management law prohibits a licensed transporter from transferring its license to any other person or company," said Attorney General Coakley. "By renting out its license, Auto Body violated the law and created a substantial risk to the public and environment by allowing unlicensed individuals to transport hazardous waste on our public highways."

"Hazardous waste is regulated for a reason - its improper handling, transport and disposal could pose a serious threat to public health, safety, and the environment," said Commissioner Laurie Burt of the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). "Letting another company use your hazardous waste haulers license is a flagrant violation of the law. Most licensed transporters operate the right way. MassDEP will vigorously enforce against those who don't."

According to the complaint, Auto Body entered into a lease agreement with Western Mass Environmental, LLC (Western Mass) in 2006. As part of that lease agreement, the complaint asserts, Western Mass paid Auto Body a monthly fee to utilize its hazardous waste transport license and transported hazardous waste on public highways in western and central Massachusetts on at least 420 occasions in 2006 and 2007. The lawsuit further alleges that Auto Body, which is based in Boston, engaged in inadequate supervision of those transport activities, which were conducted under Auto Body's transport license by the trucks and drivers of Western Mass, which is based in West Springfield.

Attorney General Coakley settled the Commonwealth's claims against Western Mass in April of this year through entry of a Consent Judgment in Suffolk Superior Court. Pursuant to that agreement, Western Mass must pay a $225,000 civil penalty to the Commonwealth, with $125,000 of that amount suspended if the company retains a consultant for two years to ensure that it will not engage in any further violations of the Commonwealth's hazardous waste laws.

Assistant Attorney General Tracy Triplett of Attorney General Coakley's Environmental Protection Division handled the case with the assistance of MassDEP attorneys Mary Jude Pigsley and Anne Berlin Blackman of the Office of General Counsel, environmental analysts Jennifer Macionus and Gregory Levins of the Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force, and Robert Dunne, Bill Phillips, and Nick Child of MassDEP's Emergency Response Unit.