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News Release

For Immediate Release
October 24, 2011

Senior Assistant Attorney General K. Allen Brooks
(603) 271-3679

Apartment Owner Assessed $80,000 Penalty for Failure to Report and Cleanup Oil Spill in Berlin, NH

Attorney General Michael A. Delaney and Commissioner Thomas S. Burack of the Department of Environmental Services ("DES") announce that the Coos County Superior Court (Bornstein, J.) issued an order assessing an $80,000 penalty against Brian Yee of Derry, New Hampshire, for his failure to report and cleanup an oil spill in the basement of an apartment building he owns in Berlin, New Hampshire. Additionally, Yee was ordered to pay double the State's cleanup costs, which already total several thousand dollars.

The State tried repeatedly to contact Yee in order to more effectively complete a cleanup of the spill. Yee did not respond to DES or the lawsuit filed in Coos County Superior Court. Several weeks ago, the Court issued an order allowing the State to complete cleanup within the building. The Court has now assessed penalties and costs.

The spill occurred because Yee did not inform his automatic heating oil delivery service that the oil tanks were no longer in operation. The delivery service pumped approximately 550 gallons of No. 2 fuel oil into the basement of the building. Realizing that the tanks should have reached their capacity, the delivery service stopped pumping and contacted the authorities.

"Our first priority is to ensure that we can complete the cleanup for the good of the property and the surrounding community," said DES Commissioner Thomas Burack. "Once we accomplish that, we will seek collection of costs and penalties. An owner cannot simply walk away from his responsibilities to the State, to his neighbors, and to others who own nearby properties."

New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658