Packer companies get seven-figure sting

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper has ordered Vineyard Havens R.M. Packer Co. and Tisbury Towing and Transportation to pay civil penalties totaling $1.2 million. Longtime mariner Ralph Packer, who is president of both companies, said sluggishness at modernizing, particularly with regard to Environmental Protection Agency safeguards, procedures, and documentation, triggered the financial penalties. 

What we have, could cause an environmental problem, Packer, who supplies some of the Islands fuel business and provides barge services, said of the federal government’s stance. Weve not caused an environmental problem yet. 

In her ruling, Casper wrote that R.M. Packer ran afoul of the Clean Water Act, specifically in regards to storm water runoff, among other violations. 

Packer said his company has made a strong effort to comply with stormwater regulations and federal directives. This includes dispatching an employee a half-hour after every rainfall begins.

We have to take a sample of that water that might flow out into the street and put it in a jar. We have to take four samples four locations. Those samples go to Rhode Island Analytical. That firm will create a chemical breakdown of the stormwater contents, he said.

They dont test for oil, which youd think they would, he noted.

Packer, whose family long ago began its energy odyssey by shipping wood to the Vineyard, then transitioned to coal, and later began to cross Vineyard Sound with oil and gasoline, is now poised to host an....

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