EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 12/4
US businesses are subject to complex, overlapping environmental regulations related to air emissions, discharges to water, hazardous waste management and disposal, oil spills, chemical management, and more. Failure to comply with all applicable US EPA requirements can result in future liability and civil penalties as high as $100,000+ per day, per violation.
The EPA Enforcement Roundup highlights enforcement actions that offer insight into how and why US EPA and state partners assess penalties for noncompliance for environmental regulations.
All violations or claims discussed below are alleged only unless we say otherwise, and we withhold the names of organizations and individuals to protect their privacy.
Your EPA Enforcement Roundup for this week:
An electric utility company in Washington will pay $1M in settlement to resolve alleged Clean Water Act noncompliance.
Per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the utilities company released hundreds of yards of artificial turf and crumb rubber into a local river, and that turf had been found nearly a mile away, and crumb rubber had been found 19 miles downstream.
The crumb rubber contains chemical compounds 6PPD; this chemical is toxic to some fish, including some protected species in the river local to the facility, when it reacts with ozone in the air.
A food ingredient manufacturer faces an $8M settlement with EPA over alleged Clean Air Act violations at a facility in Indiana.
The Agency alleges that the manufacturer violated Clean Air Act permit limits for emissions of particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
The settlement requires the manufacturer to install and operate new equipment to meet lower PM limits that will be required in the future. The company must also take steps to verify the effectiveness of the system, including hiring an independent auditor.
The company agreed to a civil penalty of $1,139,600, will implement measures at a cost of nearly $7M, and will contribute $560,400 to Indiana to support the redevelopment of brownfields.
EPA filed a consent decree requiring a Kansas oil & gas company to spend $23M on penalties, compliance, and the environment.
EPA contends that the company emitted more than 2,300 excess tons of sulfur dioxide from 2015 to 2017 due to flaring.
The company will spend over $23M according to the settlement, including:
- $13M in penalties to the US and Kansas,
- $9M to prevent future violations and redress the environmental harm, and
- At least $1M on a state-approved environmental project to benefit the public and environment.
“The settlement with [company] delivers on the promise of EPA’s new climate enforcement strategy by reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of 10,000 cars.” -Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
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