The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) director, Steven E. Chester, revealed that the Michigan Court of Appeals has affirmed a ruling against the Bulk Petroleum Corp. that requires the company to pay penalties totaling roughly $2.4 million for failing to properly clean up leaking underground tanks at a gas station in Hartland, Mich. The tanks leaked petroleum product during a period from 1986 through 1999 despite repeated efforts by the DEQ
to compel the company to properly resolve the problem.
“This ruling affirms that those who would put our environment at risk will be held accountable for it,” said Chester. “This agency made every effort to work with Bulk Petroleum to fix the problem but the company repeatedly failed to follow through on their commitments.”
In 1993, the DEQ, then operating as part of the Department of Natural Resources, required the company to begin removal of free product, install a groundwater treatment system and provide monthly progress reports to the department along with copies of their contracts with qualified consultants. Bulk Petroleum failed to comply with these requirements or properly submit a final assessment report.
“The actions by Bulk Petroleum endangered our waters, and more importantly, this community,” added Chester. “Michigan has one of the most pristine and unique environments found anywhere in the world, and it takes the care and commitment from all of us to ensure it remains that way for generations to come.”
“I applaud the decision of the court of appeals,” said Attorney General Mike Cox. “The record penalty affirmed by the court should hammer home the message to polluters that delay doesn’t pay. The longer polluters try to evade the law and avoid their clean up responsibilities, the more they will have to pay in fines and penalties.”