January 25, 2010

MANAGER OF EAST BAY FUEL TERMINAL SENTENCED TO ONE YEAR OF HOME CONFINEMENTFOR VIOLATING THE CLEAN AIR ACT

Also sentenced to 200 hours community service related to health impacts of air pollution

SAN FRANCISCO – Chuck Sivil was sentenced today to a three year period of probation, which includes one year of home confinement and 200 hours of community service focused on the health impacts of air pollution, for tampering with and rendering ineffective, or causing another to tamper with or render ineffective, a monitoring device on a vapor recovery unit located at a bulk fuel transfer facility, in Selby, Calif., owned and operated by Shore Terminals LLC, United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced.

Sivil , 56, of Vallejo, Calif., pleaded guilty on Oct. 16, 2009, to one felony count of violating the Clean Air Act. According to the plea agreement, Sivil admitted that from July 1, 2005, to Dec. 1, 2006, he was the senior manager of operations and compliance at
the Shore Terminals facility. During that time period, Shore Terminals experienced problems with its truck loading rack vapor recovery unit that caused the vapor recovery unit to malfunction and shut down. Shore Terminals’ employees, under Sivil’s supervision, repeatedly loaded ethanol using the truck loading rack while the truck loading rack’s vapor recovery
unit was not operating. To do so, Shore Terminals’ employees used a bypass switch previously installed in the operations control room. The switch bypassed the automatic shutdown of the loading rack when the vapor recovery unit was not operating. By using the bypass switch, employees avoided delays in loading trucks but also caused the release of volatile organic compounds that repeatedly vaporized and escaped into the air, in violation of the Clean Air Act. On Aug. 25, 2006, during an inspection by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Sivil initially misled the inspector when the inspector noticed the vapor recovery unit was
not operating while trucks were loading fuel. He later told the inspector the truth. Under his direction, however, the bypass switch continued to be used for several more months, until December 2006 when a search warrant was served on the facility.

“Managers of facilities such as this have a responsibility to protect the environment,” U.S. Attorney Russoniello said. “Individuals who don’t, who instead choose to take shortcuts and, as a result, violate federal regulations that are designed to safeguard the health of residents in surrounding communities will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“To protect human health and the environment, the Clean Air Act requires regulated industries to operate pollution control devices in compliance with their permits,” said Nick Torres, Special Agent in Charge of EPA's Office of Criminal Enforcement in San Francisco. “Violators who subvert required air pollution controls place the public and the environment at risk,
and they will be vigorously prosecuted.”

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston following a guilty plea on one count of violating the Clean Air Act in violation of Title 42, United States Code, Section 7413(c)(1)(C). Judge Illston sentenced the defendant to a three year period of probation, which includes one year of home confinement and 200 hours of community service, which is to be
focused on the health impacts of air pollution.

Shore Terminals, which owned and operated the facility during this time, was convicted last year for making false statements that related to these violations. As part of a plea agreement, the company paid a fine of $1.75 million, paid $750,000 for community service projects that are related to air quality, and was ordered to implement a comprehensive environmental compliance plan.

AUSAs Stacey Geis and Jeff Rabkin are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Legal Technician Rayneisha Booth. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and was referred for prosecution by the Air District’s counsel.

More...

Contact Info

  • FAY ARFA, A Law Corporation
    10100 Santa Monica Boulevard,
    Suite 300
    Los Angeles, CA 90067
    Toll-Free 800-984-8422
    Phone: 310-841-6805
    Fax: 310-841-0817
Home | Best Defender Blog | Attorney Bio | Practice Areas | Criminal Process | Crimes | Appeals | Questions | Legal Forms | Criminal Law News | Fed Crimes | Contact Us | Legal Terms | Federal Crimes | Courts | Resources

[ Back to top ]