Plane Refueling Spill Fine

April 11, 2012
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A large fine leveled upon a plane refueling company at Logan Airport has given rise to the belief that the fine is connected with the death of the Wood Island clam flats following a spill at the airport in 2010.

Massport officials have consistently refused to comment on the spill and its magnitude or to acknowledge that there is likely a connection between the spilling of  large quantities of aviation fuel into the areas of the clam flats at that time which led to the wholesale death of the clams and the fragile ecosystem that supported the flats nearest to the area of the spill.

The probable connection of the two events was apparently not lost on the Environmental Protection Agency’s New England office, which recently fined Swissport/BOS Fueling , Inc. $90,000 for failing to take adequate precautions to contain oil spills.

Swissport/BOS and Massport have maintained that no jet fuel that was spilled made it beyond the so-called North Outfall booms that are in position at the airport to contain large oil spills.

However, a map provided to the East Boston Times in May, 2011 by a local clammer shows where the clams died off and where the clams remained healthy.

There has to be a correlation between the two – and especially that of the dead clams in the North Outfall where the residue of the October, 2010 aviation fuel spill apparently  seeped into the clam beds.

Clamming those flats local clammer John Dennehy said he usually harvested 1,000 pounds of clams in a day but that after the spill, he had never seen the clam flats so absent of life. He said all the clams had died.

The state’s Marine Department of Fisheries examined batches of the dead clams reporting back that the clams had died of neoplasia – clam cancer.

This cancer, according to Marine Fishery officials, is caused by hydrocarbons found in jet fuel.

Neither Swissport/BOS nor Massport have been forthcoming about the October, 2010 aviation fuel spill.

Massport should have fully investigated the October, 2010 spill as it should have investigated the death of the clam flats and reported this news to the EPA. Then it should have made the information public to show it has nothing to hide.

More importantly, Massport’s response to the fuel spill indicates a breach of that agency’s formerly pristine reporting with regard to problems whether real or imagined that take place at Logan Airport.

All of us in this area rely heavily on Massport’s veracity and its ability to patrol itself and to take the blame for incidents that are of their own making.

Indeed, if Massport insists that no jet fuel was spilled into the clam flats and seeped into the Wood Island flats, then why are the clam flats dead and absent of life?

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