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Transportation Company Fined $10 Million for Buzzards Bay Oil Spill

Release Date: 12/01/2004
Contact Information:


Contact: John Millett 202-564-7842 / millett.john@epa.gov

(12/01/04) Bouchard Transportation Company of Hicksville, N.Y., was fined $10 million on Nov. 18 by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Boston for violating the Clean Water Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The company was also ordered to comply with remedial measures to prevent oil spills. The fine will be distributed as follows: $7 million will be used to conserve wetlands in the Buzzard’s Bay area, $2 million will be paid to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and the remaining $1 million will be suspended if Bouchard Transportation successfully establishes the environmental program ordered by the court. The violations resulted when Bouchard Transportation improperly operated the tugboat Evening Tide on April 27, 2003. This caused a barge towed by the Evening Tide to drift outside the Buzzard’s Bay channel and hit some rocks. The barge then spilled approximately 98,000 gallons of number six fuel oil in Buzzards Bay. The spill killed 450 protected birds, necessitated the closure of thousands of acres of shellfish beds in Buzzards Bay and polluted nearly 90 miles of Massachusetts shoreline. The case was investigated by the Boston Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement. Investigative assistance was provided by the U.S. Secret Service, the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the Massachusetts attorney general’s office. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.