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Attorney General's News Release

February 28, 2011

Attorney General Koster sues New Madrid County man for underground storage tank violations

New Madrid, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster has filed suit against Glen Helmes, Jr., of New Madrid, for violations of Missouri’s Underground Storage Tank (UST) Law. He said the violations can endanger the health of Missourians and the environment.

Koster said Helmes owns and operates Helmes Deli in New Madrid, which uses underground storage tanks for storing and dispensing gasoline. He said Missouri law requires owners and operators of petroleum USTs to have a financial responsibility mechanism in place – most often UST insurance – to ensure that financial resources are available to pay for any petroleum product contamination from underground storage tanks. Helmes has operated without such financial responsibility since June 2009. In addition, since November 2009, Helmes has failed to install and maintain spill catchment basins to prevent petroleum products from being released to the environment.

Koster said his office entered into a settlement agreement with Helmes in January 2010, whereby Helmes agreed to stop selling, dispensing, or receiving deliveries of petroleum until he obtained UST insurance and pay a fine of $2,640 in the event he violated the UST law within three years of the settlement. Helmes breached the settlement, and Koster is asking the court to issue a permanent injunction ordering the defendant to comply with the Missouri UST Law; to pay a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per day for each violation of the law; to fully perform the terms of the settlement agreement, including paying the $2,640 penalty; and to pay all costs and fees associated with the lawsuit.

“Underground storage tanks that are not in compliance with the law can pose a serious health threat to Missourians,” Koster said. “This legal action is necessary because the defendant failed to comply with the law through the settlement agreement, even though given ample opportunity to do so.”

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