Tauber oil to pay $700,000 to settle EPA case

Houston-based Tauber Oil Co. reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and will pay a $700,000 fine to resolve allegations it violated the Clean Air Act.

The government accused the privately-held company of selling a fuel additive that was not registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. Tauber stopped selling the additive in 2012, according to an announcement this week by the EPA.

Tauber combined several inexpensive alcohol streams to produce a product the company called “Mixed Alcohol” in a leased shore tank in Texas City. Tauber sold about 1.9 million gallons of the alcohol mix to Gulftech Marketing which blended it into gasoline, according to the agency. The mixing occurred before the fuel was shipped to service stations.

Jim Goolsby, general counsel at Tauber, said the company was caught by surprise because it was not involved with the blending in any way nor did it market the alcohol mix as a fuel additive.
The alcohol mix is used for many uses, including manufacturing of plastics and fertilizer, he said.

“We offered it and sold it and we were done at that point.”