For violations of multiple major US EPA environmental laws, a Rhode Island biodiesel plant will pay a $396,000 fine.
While biodiesel is “environmentally important” in EPA’s words, its manufacture requires large volumes of methanol, a covered hazardous air pollutant (HAP) under the Clean Air Act. Not only did the plant have no controls in place to mitigate methanol emissions, but it also:
- Failed to meet its responsibilities for chemical inventory reporting under the Emergency Preparedness and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA);
- Did not prepare or implement a spill prevention, countermeasure, and control plan (SPCC Plan) as required under the Clean Water Act; and
- Did not have in place a fire suppression system to meet Clean Air Act chemical accident prevention provisions, also known as Risk Management Planning or RMP requirements.
These violations of EPA rules have been corrected at the plant. Since EPA uncovered the noncompliance issues, the owners installed both a new emissions control system and a fire suppression system. See the full Consent Decree at the US Department of Justice’s website, here.
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