R.M. Packer Company Inc. and Tisbury Towing and Transportation Co. have been ordered to pay $1.3 million in fines for violating the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Air Pollution Control regulations.
The U.S. District Court of Massachusetts has ordered R.M. Packer Company Inc. and Tisbury Towing and Transportation Co. to pay $1.3 million in fines after years of violating federal and state environmental laws designed to protect clean air and water from pollution.
The fines will be paid over the next four years and the two companies are expected to take immediate steps to comply with the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, according to the Vineyard Gazette.
“We are under great strain of meeting the demands of the (U.S.) EPA,” said Ralph Packer, owner of the companies. “We are trying to fulfill the customers’ needs and fulfill the requirements of the EPA, Coast Guard and Homeland Security. Packer is looking to appeal.
“Compliance with environmental regulations is, and should be, the cost of doing business even for smaller companies,” said U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper in a Sept. 30 ruling.
Among the violations are failure by Packer Co. to maintain emissions control equipment, failure to repair vapor leaks and failure to comply with industrial storm water requirements, according to the Vineyard Gazette. Harmful pollutants were discharged directly into the Lagoon Pond and Vineyard Haven Harbor as a result of these violations.
Tisbury Towing was found in violation of Massachusetts Air Pollution Control regulations for failing to demonstrate vapor-tightness and failing to obtain an emission control plan, according to the EPA.
"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."
Packer has hired a full-time compliance officer as a response.
“We realized we are becoming more sophisticated, and it is becoming more technical. All reporting is done electronically now,” Packer said. “We’ve spent in excess of $2 million, no grants, just two million from our company to meet new rules and regulations. Maybe we haven’t moved fast enough, but we have spent the dollars to try and keep the environment stable.”