U.S. V. M/G Transp. Services, Inc.

U.S. Coast Guard plane and ship. Courtesy of DHS.

 NPSThe  M/G Transport case, the first Clean Water Act (CWA) case involving pollution from vessels on an inland waterway, was instrumental in establishing a working relationship between the Environmental Crimes Section and  the U.S. Coast Guard.   The prosecution originated from illegal discharges, spanning a 20-year period, of harmful quantities of oily waste (known as bilge slop) and solid waste (burned garbage) from M/G's tow boats into the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.  M/G, formerly one of the largest barge lines in the nation, was a subsidiary of the Midland Co., a Fortune 500 company. 

Charges included conspiracy to violate the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), the CWA and the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS).   In 1995, M/G, the Vice-President of M/G, and several M/G boat captains were convicted at trial. Following the jury verdict, the judge vacated several convictions. However, in April, 1999, the 6th Circuit reinstated the convictions. The M/G prosecution is credited with changing the corporate culture of transport companies doing business on inland waterways; there were substantial decreases in the number of oil spills reported on the Ohio River in the years following the case.

 

 

In the News

 

February 16, 1995
Major Towboat Company and Top Officials Indicted for 20-Year River Dumping Conspiracy
M/G Transport Services, Inc., until recently one of the largest towboat companies in the United States, a top official of the company and six captains were today indicted by a federal grand jury for dumping pollutants into the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

 

Updated May 7, 2015

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