For Immediate Release - May 20, 2010

Fuel Provider Will Pay $50,000 in Civil Penalties for Environmental Violations Under Agreement with AG Coakley

BOSTON - A Salem-based fuel provider has agreed to pay $50,000 in civil penalties to the Commonwealth for illegally removing, transporting, and disposing of waste oil contained in expired oil tanks from various locations in Essex County and for providing inaccurate information to local fire departments in applications to perform oil tank removal work, under the terms of a settlement with Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office.

The AG's Office filed a complaint and settlement today in Suffolk Superior Court on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) against Clarke Brothers, Inc., a Massachusetts fuel provider located at 281 Derby Street, Salem. According to the complaint, Clarke Brothers violated the Commonwealth's hazardous waste and tank removal laws by improperly collecting and transporting waste oil without obtaining the necessary permits from local fire departments. Clarke Brothers also violated the Commonwealth's environmental laws when it contracted with an unlicensed hazardous waste transporter to dispose of accumulated waste oil, and provided inaccurate information in permit applications required to perform tank removals.

"Because of the health and environmental risks associated with waste oil, the law requires strict adherence to specific hazardous waste management methods when handling expired fuel tanks and their contents," said AG Coakley. "We are pleased that the defendants have agreed to work with the state to ensure future compliance with environmental laws."

"Clarke Brothers must correct its past activities and adopt strict business practices that recognize the importance of proper handling and disposal of hazardous waste. These strict business practices are essential to the protection of air and water quality as well as public health," said MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt.

For the next three years, the settlement requires Clarke Brothers to submit to and pay for bi-annual audits for environmental compliance by a reputable outside expert whose reports will be provided to MassDEP. If the defendant returns to the business of removing tanks itself, the audits will be conducted four times per year.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Andrew Rainer, chief of AG Coakley's Environmental Crimes Strike Force, and Roberta Horton, also of AG Coakley's Environmental Crimes Strike Force. Richard Tomczyk from MassDEP's Headquarters Office and Karen Golden-Smith from MassDEP's Northeast Regional Office handled the case for the environmental agency.