EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 2/3
Below are examples of recent EPA enforcement actions that provide insight into how and why EPA issues civil penalties to facilities for environmental noncompliance. Names of companies and individuals cited by EPA are withheld to protect their privacy.
WHO: A natural gas company
An Oklahoma City-based energy company has been fined for failing to capture and control air emissions from storage vessels and to comply with associated inspection, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. During inspections in 2015, EPA allegedly found deficiencies in the company’s vapor capture and control systems for its storage vessels.
WHERE: Oil & gas wells throughout eastern OH
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $1.7 million plus $2 million in site improvements
The company has agreed to invest roughly $2 million in improvements at 17 well pads in eastern Ohio to help reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by approximately 313 tons per year. VOCs include a variety of chemicals that may cause adverse health effects.
WHO: A limestone quarry
A limestone quarry in the Midwest came under EPA scrutiny after allegedly filling over 1,200 feet of a Barley Branch tributary with dirt and other materials. Barley Branch feeds into the Mississippi River. Federal and State officials identified the alleged Clean Water Act violation after a site visit to the quarry in September 2018.
WHERE: Lincoln City, MO
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $80,000
The Clean Water Act prohibits parties from discharging fill material into water bodies unless they first obtain a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). If parties place fill material into water bodies without a permit, USACE can refer an enforcement case to EPA.
WHO: An agricultural cooperative
EPA has cited a full-service, member-owned agribusiness for failing to submit proper documentation on over 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia at three of its fertilizer facilities. The company allegedly failed to submit, implement and update risk management plans for the release of anhydrous ammonia among other violations.
WHERE: Oakley, KS
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $71,652 plus $55,000 in site improvements
In addition to paying a civil penalty, the company must complete a project designed to enhance safety at six of its ammonia fertilizer facilities by installing emergency shutoff valves and emergency stop buttons.
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