Printer Friendly

EPA REGION 2 CONTINUES STRONG ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM IN FY'91

 EPA REGION 2 CONTINUES STRONG ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM IN FY'91
 NEW YORK, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection


Agency's (EPA) Region 2 office today announced it set new enforcement records during fiscal year 1991 (FY'91), which covers the period from Oct. 1, 1990 to Sept. 30, 1991.
 The region, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, had a record year for administrative enforcement actions, with over 585 new actions and $50 million in proposed penalties. These included 29 administrative orders for hazardous waste violations, with proposed penalties of over $7 million, a three-fold increase over FY'90, and 184 administrative orders for Clean Water Act (CWA) violations, with an additional 44 CWA administrative complaints, proposing penalties of over $1.25 million.
 Region 2 civil administrative penalties for violations of the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) totalled $1,966,000 in FY'91, the highest penalty among all EPA regions and nearly 20 percent of TSCA penalties assessed nationally. In addition, the region filed 55 administrative complaints for violations of TSCA, proposing $39.3 million in penalties, and 38 Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know (EPCRA) administrative complaints, with $1.67 million in proposed penalties.
 The region's civil enforcement program also set new records this past fiscal year. Included was a $1.85 million hazardous waste penalty, the highest penalty ever levied by the region, and one of the largest hazardous waste penalties in the nation. In addition, a record $3.8 million in civil penalties was collected for 15 non-Superfund cases in FY'91, over 2-1/2 times the FY'90 total.
 The region's successful enforcement program in FY'91 also resulted in: a record 26 civil Superfund cases referred to the Department of Justice and to EPA headquarters for litigation, accounting for nearly half of the total 60 cases referred by the region; and a record $38 million in administrative penalties proposed for Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) complaints.
 "The enforcement numbers for fiscal year 1991 tell a great success story," said Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff, EPA Region 2 administrator. "However, I think we must be careful not to base our evaluation of the effectiveness of the enforcement program solely on the numbers. Our actions have led to specific reductions in the quantity of volatile organic emissions to the atmosphere and to specific commitments to reduce quantities of hazardous waste generated through the adoption of pollution prevention measures. The use of new approaches to enforcement -- such as the multi-media approach and the use of pollution prevention initiatives as part of settlements -- yields promising results. Their successful implementation illustrates the benefit derived from being innovative, as well as traditional, in our enforcement program."
 Pollution prevention includes the practice of reducing the amount of waste generated or pollutants released into the environment by altering manufacturing processes. In some cases, fines were reduced in return for companies committing themselves to undertake pollution prevention measures.
 The multi-media enforcement program is still a relatively new one for the agency. Under the program, EPA evaluates a facility's compliance with all major federal environmental laws, rather than inspecting the facility several times for separate violations. This represents a more holistic approach to environmental enforcement. Multi-media inspections often result in consolidated cases being filed against a facility, rather than a number of individual suits. Consolidated cases can save time and resources. EPA Region 2 carried out six multi-media inspections in FY'91, resulting in five enforcement cases involving more than one statute.
 The Region 2 criminal enforcement program also had strong performance in FY'91, with nine cases referred and four criminal cases filed. Fines levied in FY'91 total $5,027,200, with 12 months' jail time imposed. The most notable of the region's criminal cases in FY'91 was a Clean Water Act (CWA) case against Exxon at its refinery in Linden, N.J. On March 1991, Exxon pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of negligently discharging oil into the Arthur Kill without a CWA permit. As part of a settlement involving the United States, and the States of New York and New Jersey, Exxon agreed to pay a $5 million fine. The civil case attached to this criminal action yielded an additional $10 million in fines from Exxon. In addition, the region obtained a CWA criminal conviction against the Plaza Health Labs for the discharge of medical waste, containing the Hepatitis virus, into the Hudson River.
 The following are summaries of some of the more significant FY'91 Region 2 enforcement accomplishments arranged by program:
 Air Enforcement
 In Region 2, ozone non-attainment poses a significant environmental concern. Thus, enforcement of this portion of the Clean Air Act remains a regional priority. In FY'91, the region focussed on large commercial bakeries. Large commercial bakeries are significant sources of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions (which come primarily from the biological action of yeast). Region 2 issued Notices of Violation citing VOC violations at six major baking plants, including such industry giants as Nabisco Biscuit, SB Thomas, Inc., and Continental Baking. Other bakeries cited include Marathon Bakery, Harrison Bakery and Automatic Rolls. EPA reached a settlement with Continental Baking, requiring the company to pay over $328,000. Continental is also spending over $500,000 on an afterburner to control its VOC emissions. These actions are expected to lead to a reduction of at least 800 pounds of volatile organic substances into the air each year. The release of volatile organic substances is considered to be the major cause of unhealthful concentrations of ozone in the New York Metropolitan area. The region also continued its historical attention to asbestos enforcement. The agency filed a suit against Bethlehem Steel Company and its asbestos removal contractors for severe violations of asbestos demolition rules.
 Community Right-to-Know Enforcement
 Twelve administrative complaints were filed in FY'91 under EPCRA alleging failure to notify the appropriate authorities during a release of hazardous substances. These include three cases against Mobil Oil for failure to notify at its Paulsboro, N.J. facility. As a result, a $500,000 penalty was proposed for the facility. The agency also took action against and proposed $123,000 in penalties for similar violations at E.I. duPont de Nemours' Parlin, N.J. facility. A total of $1,175,000 in penalties were proposed for the 12 complaints. During FY'91, five EPCRA cases for failure to notify were settled, resulting in $300,000 in penalties. Region 2 filed 38 complaints against companies for failure to submit annual Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reports of emissions to air, land and water, with $1.67 million in proposed penalties. In FY'91 the region settled 50 EPCRA TRI cases, and imposed a total of well over $1 million in civil penalties in these cases.
 Hazardous Waste Enforcement
 Region 2 enjoyed a very strong year for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) enforcement. RCRA is the federal law that governs the handling of hazardous waste from generation to disposal. In total, 29 administrative orders were issued, including one for the Underground Storage Tank provisions in RCRA. These orders proposed penalties of over $7 million, a three-fold increase over FY'90. In addition, 25 cases were settled, yielding assessed penalties of $645,847, well over twice last year's total for the same number of settlements. The RCRA enforcement program in Region 2 also produced three corrective action orders and one clean-up order for work to be performed at operating facilities. Perhaps the most notable of cases under the Region 2 RCRA enforcement program was a civil case against E.I. duPont de Nemours for violations of the Land Disposal Restrictions for hazardous waste. The violations occurred at Dupont's Chamber Works, in Deepwater, N.J.'s largest hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility. One very important element of the settlement is the commitment to use an independent firm to conduct compliance audits at 13 DuPont facilities, to reduce waste generated at these facilities through pollution prevention techniques and to make those techniques available to other industries. DuPont treats over 400,000 tons of industrial waste each year. The case yielded the highest penalty ever levied by the region in a single case, $1.85 million, and one of the highest in the nation for RCRA violations.
 Pesticides Enforcement
 Region 2 continues to be active in its enforcement of reporting requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). In FY'91 the region issued 27 administrative complaints and 15 final orders. Settlements of cases in FY'91 yielded a total of $14,480 in civil penalties.
 Superfund Enforcement
 The dollar value of Region 2 Superfund enforcement cases is approximately $700 million for the past three fiscal years alone, bringing the total since Superfund's inception to well over $1 billion. In FY'91, the region issued six judicial consent decrees for clean-up work valued at about $18 million. In addition, the region issued 11 unilateral administrative orders to perform clean-up work worth approximately $128 million. Three federal facilities, those sites needing attention under Superfund which are owned or operated by the U.S. government, signed inter-agency agreements agreeing to perform studies and other clean-up activities which are estimated to cost a total of $40 million for the study phase.
 Toxic Substance Enforcement
 In FY'91, Region 2 issued 55 Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) complaints, including nine for asbestos handling in schools, and proposed total penalties of over $39,750,000, the highest regional total ever. In addition, the region settled 44 cases with final assessed penalties of approximately $1,970,000. In March of 1991, Region 2 issued administrative complaints to General Motors, CECOS International, and CWM Chemical Services for violating TSCA regulations governing the handling and disposal of wastes containing Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCBs). The companies disposed of PCB-containing sludges in a PCB landfill instead of incinerating them as required by the regulation. The complaints issued seek $14 million each from GM and CECOS, and $7 million from CWM.
 Water Enforcement
 Most of the significant actions under the water enforcement program came in support of the Region's Caribbean Initiative, which focuses on various types of facilities and environmental problems. Under this initiative, the water program focused on: the wastewater treatment facilities of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority (PRASA); PRASA's drinking water supply facilities; the wastewater treatment facilities in the Virgin Islands; and small drinking water systems in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Although the program is relatively new, there were 55 administrative compliance orders and 29 final orders issued to non-PRASA drinking water facilities for violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act FY'91. The region settled 13 cases yielding penalties of $319,500. Region 2 also participated in all EPA's national enforcement initiatives involving the water program, including the pre-treatment, lead, and Underground Injection Control initiatives. The region also initiated and completed, through innovative enforcement techniques, 21 administrative penalties for violations of the quality assurance program. In addition, the region filed two administrative complaints under the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, with proposed penalties of $13,000.
 -0- 3/16/92
 /CONTACT: Mary Breitenbach of the EPA, 212-264-2515/ CO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ST: New York, New Jersey IN: SU:


GK-OS -- NY030 -- 8294 03/16/92 11:54 EST
COPYRIGHT 1992 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 16, 1992
Words:1855
Previous Article:SPRINT SIGNS THREE-YEAR CONTRACT WITH UNISYS
Next Article:LOWE'S ANNOUNCES WEEKLY SALES
Topics:


Related Articles
CAL/EPA RELEASES LEGISLATION PROPOSALS
ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS TAKEN AGAINST POLLUTERS ON U.S.-MEXICO BORDER
EPA AWARDS $110,854 TO SEMINOLE TRIBE OF FLORIDA FOR WETLANDS PROTECTION
1994 BRINGS NEW DIRECTIONS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Government Report Finds Regional Discrepancies in EPA Enforcement.
Environmental Compliance and Enforcement: EPA's Effort to Improve and Make More Consistent Its Compliance and Enforcement Activities.
Environmental Enforcement: EPA Needs to Improve the Accuracy and Transparency of Measures Used to Report on Program Effectiveness.
EPA seeks public's priorities.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters