For Immediate Release
September 13, 2013
Peter C.L. Roth, Senior Assistant Attorney General
New Hampshire Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice and Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Thomas S. Burack announce that the Coos County Superior Court imposed additional penalties against Munce's Superior Petroleum and Harold Munce of Gorham in the amount of $420,000 for the continued failure to comply with a court order to close their above ground oil storage tank facilities in Gorham.
In August 2010, Munce's agreed to a preliminary injunction which required the company to bring its oil storage tank facilities into compliance with state laws that require the installation of containment walls. These walls will protect the Androscoggin River from oil pollution in the event of a breach of a tank or a leak from pipes or valves. In January 2011, after Munce's failed to comply with this order, the State moved for contempt. Munce's filed for bankruptcy in March 2011, temporarily halting the legal action in the superior court. In September 2011, however, the superior court ordered Munce's to close all the tanks within 10 days or face penalties of $1,000 per day. In February 2012, in response to Munce's continued non-compliance, the State sought penalties. After a hearing, the court imposed penalties against Munce's for each day from October 4, 2011, through April 12, 2012, totaling 192 days. The State was also awarded its attorneys fees and costs.
Munce's did not comply with the court order to close the tanks until the beginning of June 2013. As a result, the superior court awarded additional penalties for their intentional non-compliance, in the amount of $420,000, or $1,000 per day for 420 days. The court suspended payment of $210,000 for five years conditioned on future compliance with the law. In total, Munce's has incurred $612,000 in penalties for failing to comply with petroleum storage laws since September 2011.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301