The 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.