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Montana Business Owner Found Guilty of Conspiracy and Violating the Clean Air Act

On September 27, 2019, Peter Margiotta was found guilty of conspiracy and violations of the Clean Air Act by a jury trial in U.S. District Court, Billings, Montana. He is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2020.
Margiotta is the president, CEO, and owner of Custom Carbon Processing, Inc. (CCP), a slop-oil processing/recycling company near Wibaux, Montana. The investigation revealed that he accepted hazardous materials (hazmat) at CCP even though the facility was not designed, constructed, or operated to handle such materials. As a result, on December 29, 2012, an explosion occurred when a driver for Woody’s Trucking, located in Baker, Montana, was offloading natural gas condensate, or “drip gas,” that had been hauled to CCP from the Bakken oil fields near Watford City, North Dakota. The shipment’s bill of lading identified the product as “slop oil and water,” which are non-hazardous. However, while the driver was pumping the drip gas from the front tank of the truck into the CCP facility, a fire ignited, injuring three employees. The tanks on the truck burned for 8 days until the fire department could determine that they held drip gas and not slop oil and water, as indicated on the bill of lading. In addition, the truck did not have placards to indicate it held a flammable liquid. The fraudulent bill of lading was submitted to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Great West Casualty Company to conceal the contents of the shipment.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Environmental Protection Agency–Criminal Investigation Division.