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Montana Company Owner Sentenced for Hazardous Materials Incident

On October 3, 2019, Mark Hurst was sentenced in U.S. District Court, District of Montana, to 2 years’ probation and a $5,000 fine. In February 2019, Hurst pleaded guilty to a violation of the Clean Air Act, Negligent Endangerment, due to his involvement in the release of a hazardous air pollutant and other extremely hazardous substances. The court will determine restitution at a hearing scheduled for later this year.
 
Hurst is the owner of Custom Carbon Processing, Inc. (CCP), a slop-oil processing/recycling company based near Wilbaux, Montana, On December 29, 2012, 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 EPA-CID.