United States Announces Settlement of Superfund Suit for Reimbursement of Cleanup Costs at the B.c.f. Oil Refining Corporation Site in Brooklyn, New York
Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Judith Enck, Regional Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2, today announced the settlement of a civil environmental lawsuit in which the United States sought the reimbursement of the costs of EPA’s cleanup at the B.C.F. Oil Refining Corporation Site in Brooklyn, New York.
The B.C.F. Oil Refining Corporation (B.C.F.) formerly carried out waste oil processing operations at its property located at 360-362 Maspeth Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. In this action, the government sought reimbursement of EPA’s expenditure of Superfund monies to remove and dispose of hazardous substances that resulted from B.C.F.’s operations at the site. The case was brought pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), commonly known as the Superfund statute, which was passed by Congress to help accomplish the cleanup of toxic waste sites across the country.
The complaint alleged that Cary Fields was a shareholder, paid consultant, and chairman of the Board of B.C.F. and that he was liable under CERCLA as an operator of the Site who controlled and directed B.C.F.’s activities, including making key decisions about the pollution at B.C.F.’s waste oil processing facility. Under the settlement, Fields agreed to reimburse EPA $1,500,000 for EPA’s response costs. The government also sought reimbursement from B.C.F. and sought to recover its costs through its lien against the abandoned site property owned by B.C.F. The claims of the United States against B.C.F. and the site property were resolved through a stipulation and order that determined liability against B.C.F. In a separate state court proceeding, the City of New York foreclosed on the site property to recover unpaid property taxes and the United States is due to recover $1,444,000 in surplus proceeds from the foreclosure sale for its Superfund lien against the property. The total combined recovery for the United States is just under $3,000,000.
“Protecting the public and our environment from the dangers of toxic waste is an enforcement priority of this Office,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “This case is one in a series filed in this district to ensure compliance with CERCLA and other environmental statutes, and it represents another step forward in our mission to ensure that those responsible for causing or contributing to hazardous waste sites are held accountable and are required to pay for the cleanup.”
“EPA’s cleanup of the B.C.F. Oil Refining Corporation Site involved removal of over 800,000 gallons of wastes contaminated with PCB compounds from abandoned aging tanks, preventing a potential release that threatened English Kills and the East River,” stated EPA Regional Administrator Enck. “With this settlement, we are sending a powerful message that EPA will aggressively pursue polluters and uphold the Superfund principle that the polluter pays.”
The settlement was subject to a 30-day public comment period during which no comments were received. The settlement is conditioned upon approval by the United States District Court before becoming final.
The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Sandra L. Levy and Assistant Regional Counsel Brian Carr of EPA.
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