Promet Marine Services settles EPA complaint for $290,000

PROMET MARINE SERVICES has settled a complaint from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it violated environmental regulations.

PROVIDENCE – Promet Marine Services on Allens Avenue has settled a complaint from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it violated environmental regulations, the agency and company said this week.

The EPA said Promet, a ship repairer, would pay $290,000 to settle claims that it discharged water laden with pollutants into the Providence River. The EPA also charged that the paint used during ship repairs contained hazardous air pollutants that can cause health problems and contribute to smog.

In the same announcement Thursday, the EPA also said it reached a $130,000 settlement with Rose’s Oil Service, a shipyard and fuel oil distributor in Gloucester, Mass.

“Facilities that repair and maintain marine vessels have the potential for a number of harmful impacts to human health and the environment,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “It’s very important that facilities understand and follow measures designed to protect the health of our citizens and the environment that sustains us. I am pleased these companies have now taken a number of actions to improve their environmental compliance.”

The EPA said both companies are now complying with regulations. And in a statement to Providence Business News, Promet pledged to work with the EPA.

“The violations referred to are primarily technical violations, involving complex questions of applicability of the EPA regulatory program,” said Promet President David Cohen who runs the company with his brother Joel Cohen, vice president. “Promet Marine will continue to work diligently to be in compliance with all state and federal regulations.”

The EPA initially brought the charges against Promet in May. At the time, Hugh Martinez, a senior enforcement counsel at the EPA’s Boston office, told Providence Business News that the potential fine could stretch into the millions of dollars because the violations had been going on for some time.

In Providence, Promet has been a high-profile opponent of a city plan to rezone parts of the area to encourage a new mix of tourist-related uses. The brothers helped establish the Providence Working Waterfront Alliance, which has argued that the existing industry along the road provides good jobs and taxes for the city and the state.

The company also prevailed in a lengthy legal battle with the city in 2008 over its right to buy a waterfront parcel of land.

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