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Gas/Fuel/Service Station Land Use & Zoning for an EV World

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Gas Station Cleanup Responsible Parties

If a leak is found at a gas station a very early question will be: who pays for the cleanup? The term for this is a “Responsible Party Search”. And the searches for “Potentially Responsible Parties” are often unsuccessful in recovering any cleanup costs. Why? Well somteimes the ownership history of properties maybe complex and even if a municipality or state is successful in identifying the responsible party the corporation or owners may be insolvent and unable to pay.

For more information on responsible party searches see the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) document on Finding Potentially Responsible Parties

Example of a Complex Case

This is an excerpt of the responsible party story from the story of the Elmira Family Store in Elmira, Oregon. According to a story in the Register Guard (source): “The state Department of Environmental Quality, which has been working for years to limit the pollution… has already spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars on the cleanup.”

“The site has a complex history, but the primary owner/operators have been Ron and Nancy Huddleston. The Huddlestons owned and operated the facility from the 1960s through 1979, when they sold the site to Tony and Michel Tocco. In 1987, the Toccos sold or gave the property and business to their son in-law, who after some difficulties running the store, returned it to the Toccos. The Toccos gave it back to the Huddlestons in 1988, who ran the store again until 1993. Finally, in 1993, the Huddlestons sold the store to Dewey Best (now deceased); Mr. Best operated the store until 1995, when he sold it to Harley Frisby, and operations continued under Kim and JeffBomark (Mr. Frisby’s daughter and son-in-law). Mr. Frisby sold his interest in 1996 to the Bomarks, who declared bankruptcy in 1998. In May 1999, the bankruptcy court returned the property to the Huddlestons. Based on an ability-to-pay analysis of the Huddlestons, DEQ determined in March 2003 that they are unable to fund required investigation and cleanup activities. DEQ will continue to investigate other parties connected with the property to determine whether they may be responsible for cleanup costs.”