EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 10/2
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:
Two California companies pay to settle alleged environmental violations related to anhydrous ammonia refrigeration systems.
A frozen produce production facility using anhydrous ammonia in refrigeration systems failed to appropriately mitigate the chemical's risks as required by the Clean Air Act (CAA) and EPCRA, EPA alleges. According to the agency, the facility did not implement compliant ventilation or properly calibrate sensors to detect releases of anhydrous ammonia.
In a second case, EPA claims that a juice-maker also violated CAA and EPCRA, in part by failing to minimize the consequences of an accidental release of anhydrous ammonia used on site to refrigerate juice. Combined, the two companies face a penalty burden north of $250,000. One will also contribute $67,000 toward a local fire department's emergency response preparedness.
An offshore drilling company faces $507,000 in penalties for alleged Clean Water Act and oil & gas permit violations.
A complaint filed by the US Department of Justice alleges that the company exceeded the effluent limits for discharged pollutants and inaccurately reported discharge monitoring, among other violations.
To settle the alleged non-compliance, the company must:
- Submit timely and accurate reports.
- Perform all required inspections and monitoring.
- Continue development and implementation procedures to track its vessels and mobile facilities engaged in oil and gas exploration and production activities in the Gulf.
- Establish procedures for cooling water intakes that ensure fish and other aquatic species do not become trapped in filter screens.
The company must also hire a third party to review its compliance plans and demonstrate to the EPA that it has completed all mandatory corrective actions and must submit annual compliance reports to the Agency.
At-sea fish processors face $999,000 in penalties for alleged Clean Water Act violations off the Oregon and Washington coast.
The Agency claims the companies (a fish processing company and the owners of its vessels) committed hundreds of violations along the coast while harvesting and processing fish, including discharging waste into protected waters, failing to monitor its discharges, and submitting incomplete or inaccurate annual reports.
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