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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 3/16

Posted on March 16, 2020 by Lauren Scott

Every day, facilities across the US receive Notices of Violation from US EPA for alleged noncompliance with a wide variety of programs like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts; chemical management and reporting regulations (TSCA, EPCRA, CERCLA, etc.); hazardous waste management and disposal standards (RCRA); and much more.

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: An oil pipeline company
WHERE: Santa Barbara, CA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: No less than $60 million

Federal officials reached an agreement with an American pipeline company to resolve violations of the federal pipeline safety regulations. This comes after an incident from May 19, 2015, when approximately 2,934 barrels of crude oil were allegedly improperly discharged from a pipeline north of Refugio State Beach near Santa Barbara, California.

The settlement requires the company to improve its nationwide pipeline system and bring it into compliance with the Federal pipeline safety laws. The company will also pay $24 million in penalties, $22.325 million in natural resource damages, $10 million for reimbursed natural resource damage assessment costs, and $4.26 million for reimbursed Coast Guard cleanup costs. The total settlement is valued in excess of $60 million.
 
 

WHO: A recycling center
WHERE: Richmond, VA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $10,000 plus a $40,000 supplemental project

A Virginia recycling facility has reached an agreement with Federal environmental officials over alleged violations of electronics and universal waste regulations. EPA alleges the facility began recycling waste lamps in 2014 without a permit and has since been identified as a small quantity generator of hazardous waste and a large quantity handler of universal waste.

The recycler has agreed to host an electronics recycling event in Richmond, which is expected to cost no less than $40,000.
 

WHO: An agricultural products distributor
WHERE: San Francisco, CA
WHAT: FIFRA violations
HOW MUCH: $73,372

A company that re-packages and distributes agricultural products has been fined for the alleged improper storage, labeling, and containment of bulk agricultural pesticides at its facilities in California and New Mexico. The company allegedly failed to properly label pesticides and violated pesticide containment regulations at four of the company’s facilities.

The violations were discovered through a series of inspections conducted by the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation from 2016 to 2018. The firm has agreed to a systematic evaluation of its overall compliance system and subsequent firmwide implementation of improvements to its management systems in addition to paying a penalty.
 

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