FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         ENR
THURSDAY, JULY 25, 1996                            (202) 514-2008
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


                     TO SETTLE DAMAGE CLAIMS


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Cumberland Farms, Inc. has settled a federal
lawsuit seeking a remedy for damage it caused to over 180 acres
of valuable wetlands near Halifax and Hanson in southeastern

     Under the agreement filed today in a U.S. District Court in
Boston, Cumberland Farms will be required to deed two separate
tracts totalling 225 acres of undeveloped land in nearby
Middleboro, Massachusetts to the Massachusetts Division of
Fisheries and Wildlife for permanent conservation.  In addition,
the company will establish a 30 acre wildlife and wetlands
corridor on the most seriously damaged site and pay a $50,000
civil penalty for violating the federal Clean Water Act.
     In 1991, the Department of Justice, on behalf of EPA, sued
Cumberland Farms and others for alleged wetlands violations. 
Specifically, the government said that Cumberland Farms and
others destroyed approximately 180 acres of wetlands at four
separate sites in Halifax and Hanson, MA.  The defendants damaged
the wetlands during the land's conversion to cranberry bogs.  The
alleged violations occurred between 1977 and 1990.

     Today's settlement, together with an earlier agreement with
two other parties, Baybank and Northland Cranberries, Inc., will
preserve some 490 acres of undeveloped habitat.  This represents
the largest permanent preservation of habitat arising from a
federal enforcement action in New England.  In addition, these
agreements call for the restoration or enhancement of an
additional 50 acres of valuable wetlands and the 30-acre wetlands
and wildlife corridor.

     "This settlement is a big win for the environment and
reinforces the message that violators of our wetlands laws will
be punished," said Lois J. Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General
in charge of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural
Resources Division.  "Significant wetlands will be preserved or
restored to the benefit of the public and the environment at a
far greater cost to the company than if it had protected the
wetlands in the first place."

     Wetlands are areas saturated by surface or groundwater and
often the only support for important fish, wildlife and plant
species.  In addition, wetlands draw water from nearby areas,
helping to protect homeowners and crops from flood damage.  They
also act as filters for pollutants -- nature's pollution control

     "Settlements of this kind -- which provide immediate and
direct preservation of valuable habitat through a partnership
with the Commonwealth -- are fundamental to EPA-New England's
efforts in protecting sensitive ecosystems," said John DeVillars,
the Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency.  "Habitat preservation, particularly the preservation of
large tracts of wetlands, ensures not only a rich diversity of
wildlife, but confirms New England's long tradition of land
conservation for the benefit of the public."

     The deeded property will be owned and managed by the
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife in accordance
with a signed agreement between EPA and the Commonwealth.  

     The 30-acre wildlife and wetland corridor will be created by
Cumberland Farms in Halifax, near the site of the largest wetland
violation.  The preserve will include 16 acres of new wetlands
and will provide critical access for wildlife between nearby
Burrage Pond and the Great Cedar Swamp.  Large portions of the
Great Cedar Swamp are being deeded to the Massachusetts Audubon
Society as a result of the earlier related agreement.

     In January 1995, the U.S. reached a voluntary agreement with
the sites' current owner and mortgagor, Northland and Baybank. 
Under the agreement, Northland and Baybank agreed to preserve 265
acres of valuable wildlife habitat near the sites by deeding them
to the Massachusetts Audubon Society.  In addition, that
agreement called for the restoration of 13 acres of wetlands and
the enhancement of another 38 acres in the vicinity of the
damaged property.

     While the settlement has been signed by the U.S. and the
defendants, it becomes final only after a period of public
comment and review and approval by the court.