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Nantucket Company Faces Penalty for Violations of Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations

Release Date: 12/12/2012
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Dec. 12, 2012) – Harbor Fuel Oil Corp., a fuel storage and distribution company on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts faces penalties of potentially up to $177,500 for alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

EPA recently filed a complaint against the company for failing to properly prepare for possible oil spills at its Nantucket facility in violation of federal Facility Response Plan (“FRP”) requirements.  The FRP requirements are part of the federal Oil Pollution Prevention regulations issued under the Clean Water Act and require facilities that store and distribute oil to have in place, and be prepared to adequately implement, a contingency plan for containing and cleaning up oil spills.

EPA’s action stems from a March 2012 unannounced exercise carried out by representatives of EPA, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard at the facility. The objective of this exercise—a simulated oil spill—is to determine whether a facility can successfully respond to an oil release. As a result of the March exercise, EPA determined that the company could not properly carry out the facility’s FRP and its personnel were not adequately trained, resulting in an “unsuccessful” overall rating for the exercise.

Federal law requires that facilities that have the potential for oil spills take every step possible to prevent oil discharges to the nation’s rivers, lakes and oceans through implementation of Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasure (“SPCC”) plans.  Any facility with more than 1,320 gallons of aboveground oil storage capacity and meeting certain other criteria must develop and implement SPCC plans to prevent and contain spills, such as by installing impervious secondary containment around storage tanks and transfer areas.

The law recognizes that it is equally important that facilities know how to minimize environmental damage when spills do occur, and therefore the FRP regulations require response planning and spill preparation especially for facilities that are expected to cause significant harm to the environment as the result of an oils spill - such as facilities like Harbor Fuel which have over one million gallons of storage capacity and/or transfer oil over water. To ensure that a facility can adequately respond to a spill, it must have adequate employee training, spill response equipment, and a contingency plan for containing and cleaning up a release.

More information:

- SPCC Requirements (http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/index.htm)
- FRP Requirements (
http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/frps/index.htm)

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