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Cowboy Oil in Pocatello Receives $118,291 Complaint For Underground Storage Tank Violations

Release Date: 4/11/2003
Contact Information: Mark MacIntyre
(206) 553-7302

April 10, 2003

Cowboy Oil, a Pocatello-based (2806 South 5th Avenue) gasoline retailer and distributor, has been issued an Administrative Complaint (pdf, 103 KB, 13 pages) and Compliance Order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for alleged federal underground storage tank violations. The Complaint carries a proposed penalty of $118,291.

On May 20, 1998, EPA conducted its first inspection at the facility and an initial penalty of $1050 was issued for many of the same violations. EPA conducted a second inspection on May 16, 2001, and observed additional violations at the facility. The Company notified EPA of a leak at the facility in September, 2002. The underground storage tanks at the facility were placed into temporary closure on October 11, 2002 and remain closed to this day. Counts listed in the Complaint include: lack of UST insurance for their tanks; failure to monitor tanks for cathodic protection (rust or corrosion protection); failure to install spill protection; failure to install overfill protection and failure to monitor tanks on a monthly basis.

According to Jim Werntz, EPA Idaho state director in Boise, today’s action reflects the “regulatory reality” of Underground Storage Tanks monitoring in Idaho.

“Our action is driven by the current situation here,” Werntz said. “Since Idaho hasn’t established approved rules for the Underground Storage Tank program, EPA must enforce against violators. We will continue to use our enforcement authorities to protect Idaho’s ground water until Idaho Department of Environmental Quality receives primacy for the program..”

DEQ was able to investigate under the EPA-financed Leaking Underground Storage Tank program and report that the leak was "significant." DEQ is currently working with the facility to clean up the site.

Cowboy Oil has 30 days to respond to the Complaint*, either by filing an Answer to the Complaint and asking for a hearing or send a check for the full penalty amount, made payable to the U.S. Treasury and agree to comply with the compliance order. Cowboy Oil can also contact EPA to discuss settlement.
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