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United States v. Hill

Citation: 30 ELR 20665
No. No. 95-CV-1716(GJD/NAM), 98 F. Supp. 2d 280/(N.D.N.Y., 05/30/2000)

The court upholds Resource Conservation and Recovery Act civil penalties of $ 4,746,500 against a gas station owner for violating U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrative orders issued after a serious gasoline spill from the station. The court first holds that the civil penalty imposed against the owner is proper and appropriate. The spill was very serious in that the estimated 10,000 gallons of gasoline spilled posed a significant health risk, posed a risk of explosion, and poisoned drinking water. Further, the owner obtained substantial economic benefit from disobeying EPA's orders and failing to assist in the cleanup of the spill. Moreover, although the owner has no history of similar violations, the owner made absolutely no good-faith effort to comply with EPA's orders. In addition, evidence indicated that the owner was very wealthy and, thus, possessed the ability to pay the fine. Therefore, the maximum penalty sought by the government is appropriate.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Lois J. Schiffer
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Counsel for Defendant
Oliver R. Hill
Law Office of Oliver R. Hill
276 Hemlock Rd., Nedrow NY 13120
(315) 498-6218