N.H. petroleum company hit with $192K penalty

Bryan Cohen Apr. 30, 2012, 1:25pm


CONCORD, N.H. (Legal Newsline) - New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney and Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Tom Burack announced on Monday that penalties have been awarded against a Gorham petroleum company and its owner.

Munce's Superior Petroleum and Harold Munce, the company's owner, allegedly failed to close the company's above ground oil storage tank facilities in Gorham in compliance with a September court order. The defendants must pay the state $192,000 along with attorneys' fees and court costs.

In August 2010, Munce's agreed to a preliminary injunction that forced the company to bring its oil storage tank facilities into compliance with New Hampshire laws. The state laws require the installation of containment walls meant to stop oil pollution from seeping into the Androscoggin River in case of a leak from pipes or valves or a breach in the tank. Munce's did not comply with the order and the state moved for contempt in January 2011, it is alleged.

In March 2011, Munce's filed for bankruptcy that temporarily stopped the Superior Court legal action. In September, the court ordered Munce's to close each of the tanks within 10 days or be subject to penalties of $1,000 per day. The company did not comply with the order, and in February, the state made a penalty assessment. In a hearing, the court found Munce's claims about the tanks to not be credible and awarded penalties against the company for the 192 days between October 4 and April 12.

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