EPA to Relax Air Regs for Oil and Gas Industry

September 03, 2019
At an August 29 event in Lubbock with U.S. Representative Jodey Arrington (TX-19), EPA Region 6 Deputy Administrator David Gray announced the agency’s proposed updates to the prior administration’s national standards for the oil and natural gas industry. The proposal would remove regulatory duplication and save the industry millions of dollars in compliance costs each year – while maintaining health and environmental regulations on oil and gas sources that the agency considers appropriate.
The proposal is the result of EPA’s review of the 2016 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the oil and natural gas industry, which was conducted in response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13783 - Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth. That order directs agencies to review existing regulations that potentially “burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources,” including oil and natural gas. EPA’s regulatory impact analysis estimates that the proposed amendments would save the oil and natural gas industry $17-$19 million a year, for a total of $97-$123 million from 2019 through 2025.
“EPA’s proposal delivers on President Trump’s executive order and removes unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The Trump Administration recognizes that methane is valuable, and the industry has an incentive to minimize leaks and maximize its use. Since 1990, natural gas production in the United States has almost doubled while methane emissions across the natural gas industry have fallen by nearly 15%. Our regulations should not stifle this innovation and progress.”
“Standing here today in Lubbock, it’s clear that community leaders and businesses are counting on us to enact reasonable, responsible rules that protect the health of the community and encourage economic growth,” said EPA Deputy Regional Administrator David Gray. “This proposed action will ensure that communities where oil and gas activities take place, here and across the nation, will continue to thrive.”
“The heart of America’s economic prosperity and unrivaled security is an abundant, affordable, and reliable supply of domestic energy. The energy revolution and, in particular, the innovations in technology we have seen from industry leaders here in West Texas in recent years have advanced our nation’s energy security while creating a significant reduction in carbon emissions. The proposed rule will reduce burdensome regulations and allow for innovation to flourish, empowering our energy producers to continue to lead the way in our nation’s energy dominance, said Congressman Jodey Arrington. “The Obama administration’s midnight rule would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs for our small and independent energy producers, and I am encouraged by the broader regulatory reform we are now seeing to bring more jobs and opportunities to energy economies like West Texas. I applaud President Trump and the EPA for finding meaningful ways to steward our environment and leave our nation stronger, freer, safer, and cleaner for our children and grandchildren while providing opportunities for the next generation of energy producers and leaders in West Texas and beyond.”
EPA is co-proposing two actions, both of which the agency says would remove unnecessary regulatory duplication in the 2016 rule. In its primary proposal, the agency would remove sources in the transmission and storage segment of the oil and gas industry from regulation. These sources include transmission compressor stations, pneumatic controllers, and underground storage vessels. The agency is proposing that the addition of these sources to the 2016 rule was not appropriate, noting that the agency did not make a separate finding to determine that the emissions from the transmission and storage segment of the industry causes or significantly contributes to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare.
The primary proposal also would rescind emissions limits for methane, from the production and processing segments of the industry but would keep emissions limits for ozone-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These sources include well completions, pneumatic pumps, pneumatic controllers, gathering and boosting compressors, natural gas processing plants and storage tanks. The controls to reduce VOCs emissions also reduce methane at the same time, so separate methane limitations for that segment of the industry are redundant.
In an alternative proposal, EPA would rescind the methane emissions limitations without removing from regulation any sources from the transmission and storage segment of the industry.
The agency also is seeking comment on alternative interpretations of EPA’s legal authority to regulate pollutants under section 111(b)(1)(A) of the Clean Air Act. This proposal is in addition to a September 2018 technical action that proposed targeted improvements to help streamline implementation, reduce duplication of EPA and state requirements, and significantly decrease unnecessary burdens on domestic energy producers. EPA is currently reviewing comments received on that technical package and expects to issue a final rule in the upcoming months.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) said, “Today’s proposed rule is unconscionable. Even for an Administration with a pattern of catering to corporate polluters, the proposal to eliminate federal government requirements limiting methane emissions is wildly irresponsible and reckless. Many within the fossil fuel industry understand this, and that’s why Exxon, Shell and BP America urged EPA to maintain rigorous methane rules. Yet the Trump Administration is defying science, common sense and the express concerns of major industry players to disassemble critical public health and safety protections.”
U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said “the risks posed by methane gas are deadly serious, which is why there has long been bipartisan consensus that we need to protect people and our planet from it. We know that methane exposure causes illness or worse, especially among children. We also know that methane is a major driver of climate change, far more potent than carbon dioxide. And EPA’s own website acknowledges that the oil and gas industry is ‘the largest industrial source of the potent greenhouse gas methane. This proposed rule is a reckless course reversal on commonsense regulations that ignores the clear evidence that methane poses real dangers to human health and the environment. It’s also willfully ignorant to Americans’ clarion call for action to address the climate crisis. The American people deserve better.”
EPA will take comment on the proposal for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register and will hold a public hearing. Details of the hearing will be announced shortly.
More information, including a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice and a fact sheet, is available at https://www.epa.gov/controlling-air-pollution-oil-and-natural-gas-industry.
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EPA to Provide Relief for Certain Marine Diesel Engines
EPA has proposed to amend the national marine diesel engine program to provide relief to boat builders and manufacturers of lightweight and high-power marine diesel engines that are used in high-speed commercial vessels such as lobster fishing boats and pilot boats.
“This proposal will provide boat builders the flexibility they need to meet EPA standards while they continue to manufacture products that are critical to marine industries,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This action reflects our mindset that environmental progress is best achieved by working with states and the regulated community to advance sound and attainable regulatory solutions.”
“This proposed rule will give boat builders and manufacturers regulatory certainty and encourage continued growth at the port,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “This action is a win-win for builders and bar pilots and allows goods and services to continue moving at the port.”
“This proposed rule is very important for both our bar pilots and our port in Savannah,” said Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (GA-01). “The current standards have made it impossible for the bar pilots to purchase any new vessels because there simply is not a single manufacturer that can meet the requirements. The new guidance will give the pilots the ability to purchase new vessels, so they are able to continue to do their important job while ensuring there won’t be any disruptions to the shipping traffic or other unnecessary delays at the port. I thank the EPA for working with us to correct the current flawed guidance to ensure the growth at our port and in our region isn’t negatively impacted by standards that are impossible to reach.”
EPA’s proposal will help boat builders whose production capabilities have been impacted by a lack of certified engines available with the desired size and power characteristics. The proposal will provide additional lead time to meet the agency’s Tier 4 standards for qualifying engines and vessels and includes a new waiver process, which would allow for continued installation of Tier 3 engines for certain vessels if suitable Tier 4 engines continue to be unavailable. The proposal also includes changes to streamline the engine certification process to promote certification of engines with high power density.
This rule also includes a proposed technical correction to the national marine diesel fuel program. This change will clarify that fuel manufacturers and distributors may sell distillate diesel fuel that meets the 2020 global sulfur standard adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The proposed correction will help U.S. fuel manufacturers and distributors to meet the IMO standard on time and without creating additional burdens for the industry.
New Requirements in Emission Guidelines for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills
The EPA has amended the 2016 Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills (MSW Landfills EG). The general requirements for state and federal plans implementing emission guidelines (EG) are referred to as implementing regulations, which are cross-referenced in the MSW Landfills EG. In a separate regulatory action titled “Revisions to Emission Guidelines Implementing Regulations,” the EPA finalized changes to modernize the implementing regulations governing EG under a new subpart. This action updates the cross-references to the implementing regulations in the MSW Landfills EG to harmonize with the new requirements for state and federal plans.
The final rule will be effective on September 6, 2019 and States must submit state plans by August 29, 2019. For additional information, contact Allison Costa, Sector Policies and Programs Division, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, EPA, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27711; 919-541-1322 or email: costa.allison@epa.gov.
New Technique Gives Polyurethane Waste a Second Life
Polyurethane is used in a wide range of materials, including paints, foam mattresses, seat cushions and insulation. These diverse applications generate large amounts of waste. A team at the University of Illinois has developed a method to break down polyurethane waste and turn it into other useful products.
The researchers will report their findings at the American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition.
In the U.S. alone, 1.3 million tons of polyurethane waste is generated each year. The waste usually ends up in landfills or is incinerated, a process that requires a large energy input and generates toxic byproducts. "We want to solve the waste problem by repurposing polyurethane," said Ephraim Morado, a graduate student in the laboratory of chemistry professor Steven Zimmerman, who led the research.
Polyurethanes are made of two components that are hard to break down: isocyanates, which are composed of nitrogen, carbon and oxygen; and alcohol groups called polyols. "The polyol is usually petroleum-based and is not degradable," Morado said. To address this difficulty, the team incorporated a more easily degraded chemical unit, an acetal, to the polyol. And because polyurethanes are water-resistant, the researchers invented an acetal unit that degrades in solvents other than water.
"When we add a combination of trichloroacetic acid and dichloromethane, the material swells and rapidly degrades at room temperature," Morado said.
The degradation products that are formed can then be repurposed to new materials. For example, the researchers were able to convert elastomers - a type of polyurethane used in rubber bands, packaging and car parts - into an adhesive glue. "One of the challenges with our approach is that the starting material is costly," Zimmerman said. "We are trying to find a better, cheaper way to accomplish this. Our second hurdle will be to get a patent and find someone who is interested in commercializing it."
The researchers are testing the same technique on other polyurethane materials. They also hope to use milder solvents, such as vinegar, to carry out the degradation.
"The polyurethane materials have different properties based on the chemical structure of the isocyanate," Zimmerman said. "We can change the structure of the acetal accordingly."
Five California Companies Fined for SPCC Violations
EPA announced settlements with five facilities in Northern California’s Bay Delta region under the Clean Water Act for violations of federal oil pollution prevention regulations. Each facility has agreed to pay penalties and has resolved the violations.
“We are pleased these Delta businesses are taking the necessary steps to prevent oil spills,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “EPA will continue to focus on protecting California’s waterways from pollution.”
The goals of the Clean Water Act’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulation are to prevent oil from reaching waterways and adjacent shorelines, and to contain and respond to oil spills that do occur. The regulation requires onshore oil storage facilities to develop and implement SPCC plans to ensure procedures and equipment are in place to reduce risk and minimize or prevent water quality impacts.
EPA’s settlements are with the following five facilities in Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Solano counties:
  • Pittsburg Municipal Marina on East Marina Boulevard in Pittsburg was fined $1,950 for failure to certify and fully implement an SPCC plan and for failing to implement a tank integrity testing program to prevent releases.
  • Bullfrog Landing Marina in Stockton was fined $1,675 for failure to fully implement a SPCC plan, perform tank inspections and integrity testing in accordance with written procedures, and have adequate secondary containment.
  • Union Point Marina Bar and Grill in Stockton was fined $1,500 for failure to develop, certify and implement an SPCC plan.
  • Suisun City Marina on Kellogg Street in Suisun City was fined $1,500 for failure to develop, certify and implement an SPCC plan.
  • Bethel Market in Bethel was fined $1,500 for failure to develop, certify and implement an SPCC plan.
Proposed Rules for Disposal of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material in Montana
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has proposed new regulations for management of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, or “TENORM.” The proposed new administrative rules were released today, launching a 60-day public comment period. Public hearings on the proposed rules are scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 24, in Glendive, and Thursday, Oct. 10, in Helena.
TENORM is created when materials that are naturally radioactive at low levels, including some soils and rocks, are concentrated as a result of human activities. Industrial processes such as manufacturing, water processing, and oil and gas production can generate TENORM waste.
TENORM is not waste from the nuclear energy, weaponry or medical industries. It is not federally regulated, and Montana is among a number of states developing waste management regulations for safe storage, transport, and disposal of TENORM. The new TENORM rules proposed by DEQ include provisions for waste facility design and construction, operations and monitoring, spill reporting, financial assurance, and closure and post-closure care.
DEQ first published proposed TENORM waste management rules on Aug. 18, 2017, holding a 60-day public comment period and two public hearings, followed by a 30-day extension of the public comment period through Nov. 17, 2017. Based on substantive input from stakeholders and the general public, DEQ decided to rewrite the proposed rules. The agency established a TENORM workgroup consisting of non-governmental organizations, industry representatives, local government officials, scientists, and citizens. DEQ also sought input from the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations, whose board of directors consists of representatives from the oil and gas industry, regulatory agencies, and the environmental advocacy community.
Roadway Project Uses 81,000 Recycled Tires 
With the help of a California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery grant, Santa Barbara County just completed a road stabilization project using 81,000 recycled tires. Tire-derived aggregate, made from 810 tons of California waste tires, was used to backfill a retaining wall composed of large, rock-filled welded wire baskets (called gabions) to replace failed soil and provide lateral support to the reconstructed embankment. This is the first infrastructure project in California to use TDA material in this type of application.
“This CalRecycle grant project is a new model for how communities can transform recycled waste tires into a valuable resource to improve local infrastructure and protect public safety,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said.  “This has been a collective effort with the cooperation of Santa Barbara County to be part of this first-of-its-kind project. We hope this is the first of many statewide projects that will make use of this new civil engineering technique.”
Sunoco Fined $319,000 for Pipeline Construction Violations
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced that it has issued two penalties to Sunoco Pipeline, LP totaling $319,461 for violations resulting from construction activities on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project.
“DEP is committed to ensuring that Sunoco and other companies are held to the highest standard possible. These actions, which resulted in violations of permits and laws that are meant to protect our waterways, are unacceptable,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “DEP will maintain the stringent oversight that we have consistently exercised by monitoring Sunoco and taking all steps necessary to ensure that the company complies with its permits and the law.”
DEP issued a Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty (CACP) to Sunoco for violations of the Clean Streams Law and Dam Safety and Encroachment Act that occurred in 2018 during construction activities in 10 counties.
Specifically, horizontal drilling activities resulted in unauthorized discharges of drilling fluids consisting of bentonite clay and water, also known as inadvertent returns, to the following surface waters: East Branch Conestoga River in Caernarvon Township in Berks County; two wetlands in Blair and Frankstown townships in Blair County; unnamed tributaries to Stewart Run, Hinckston Run, and two wetlands in Cambria County; a wetland in Middlesex Township in Cumberland County; Chester Creek and a wetland in Middletown Township in Delaware County; a wetland and Aughwick Creek in Shirley Township in Huntingdon County; Snitz Creek in West Cornwall Township in Lebanon County; a wetland in Toboyne Township in Perry County; an unnamed tributary to Peters Creek in Nottingham Township and an unnamed tributary to Little Chartiers Creek in North Strabane Township in Washington County; and an unnamed tributary to Sewickley Creek in Sewickley Township in Westmoreland County.
As part of the agreement, DEP has assessed a civil penalty of $240,840 for the violations, which Sunoco has agreed to pay to the commonwealth and the county conservation districts.
DEP also issued a CACP to Sunoco for violation of its permits and the Clean Streams Law that occurred in 2017 during construction activities that resulted in accelerated erosion and sedimentation at sites in Lower Frankford, Upper Frankford, Lower Mifflin and North Middleton townships in Cumberland County.
Specifically, Sunoco failed to implement effective best management practices to minimize erosion and sedimentation at the sites; failed to temporarily stabilize all areas of the sites upon completion of earth disturbance activities at the sites; created a potential for sediment pollution to Rock Run; conducted earth disturbance activities at the sites that violated its erosion and sediment control permit; and caused or allowed accelerated erosion that resulted sedimentation from earth disturbance activities to enter unnamed tributaries to Doubling Gap Creek, Conodoquinet Creek and Rock Run.
As part of the agreement, DEP has assessed a civil penalty of $78,621 for the violations, which Sunoco has agreed to pay to the commonwealth and the Cumberland County Conservation District.
Additional information, including the CACPs and supporting documents, can be found on DEP's Mariner East 2 webpage.
  • State agencies have provided unprecedented oversight over the Mariner East Project, issuing more than 80 violations and levying more than $13 million in penalties. DEP has also implemented significant new processes as a result of the experience gained on a project of unprecedented scope and impact including:
  • Improved coordination with the PUC and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC);
  • Improved internal coordination and implementation through the establishment of a Regional Pipeline Permitting Coordination Office;
  • And the development of new permit conditions and policy guidelines for future pipeline development projects including more than 100 special permit conditions.
Safety-Kleen Fined for EPCRA Reporting Violations
EPA announced a settlement with Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc., that resolved the company's alleged failure to properly report required information about six toxic chemicals it received at and transported from at a facility in Bridgeport. Under the settlement, Safety-Kleen will pay an $82,000 penalty. The company has also come into compliance with federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) issues that EPA raised in 2017.
"This case shows that EPA is serious about ensuring that facilities that receive and transport toxic substances follow the laws that protect their workers and local communities," said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. "EPA appreciates Safety-Kleen's efforts to correct the alleged violations once they were identified, which improved the company's compliance with important laws that protect public health."
The Safety-Kleen facility in Bridgeport receives and transfers used motor oil for recycling. The facility also blends and receives windshield wiper fluid product containing methanol and receives antifreeze product containing ethylene glycol for distribution and collects used wastewater and waste antifreeze. The Bridgeport facility is in an area where environmental justice issues exist.
Safety-Kleen failed to timely submit to EPA required forms for six chemicals for 2015 based on a miscalculation of full-time employees at the facility. After discussions with EPA, the facility filed the proper forms for 2015.
Companies that meet certain criteria and use certain materials containing toxic chemicals must report each year how much of each toxic chemical is released to the environment and how much is managed through recycling, energy recovery and treatment, according to federal right to know laws. The information collected by EPA from industrial and federal facilities using these chemicals serves as the basis of the Toxic Release Inventory, a collection of data that can be reviewed by communities, government and industry. This information helps communities understand how manufacturers use and recycle toxic materials, as well as how they prevent accidents.
Heritage Environmental Receives Final Hazardous Waste Permit for Kansas City Facility
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources issued a final hazardous waste permit to Heritage Environmental Services LLC, allowing the company to continue operating at its facility.
Heritage operates a commercial hazardous and nonhazardous waste storage and treatment facility at the site, located at 8525 N.E. 38th St. in Kansas City, MO. Heritage transports to its facility a variety of hazardous wastes produced by other hazardous waste generators. Heritage then blends and stores the wastes until shipped to off-site cement kilns and other permitted facilities to be used as fuel. Wastes that cannot be fuel blended are collected and stored until they can be shipped off-site for processing or disposal at other facilities designed and permitted to handle those wastes.
Heritage has been operating at the site under a department-issued Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Facility Part I Permit and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-issued Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments Part II Permit. On March 6, 2016, Heritage submitted a permit application to the department and EPA to renew and update its hazardous waste permits. After a thorough technical review of the permit application and opportunity for public comment on the draft permit, the department made minor changes to the draft permit and issued a final Part I Permit. The final permit allows the company to continue storing and treating hazardous waste.
EPA decided not to issue a Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments Part II Permit, since EPA has no site-specific conditions for the facility and Missouri is fully authorized for all permitting activities at the facility. EPA intends to terminate the current Part II Permit upon issuance of the Part I Permit.
Please be aware that any parties adversely affected or aggrieved by department’s decision to approve the permit modification request and issue the final Part I Permit, or specific conditions of the final Part I Permit, may be entitled to pursue an appeal before the Administrative Hearing Commission by filing a written petition by Sept. 26, 2019, as more fully described on page 5 of the final Part I Permit.
The final Part I Permit, summary and response to comments received on the draft Part I Permit modification, and additional information are available on the department’s website. For more information about the final Part I Permit, or to obtain a written copy of the final Part I Permit for review, contact Abby Sawyer, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Waste Management Program, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176, by telephone at 573-526-5397 or 800-361-4827, or by email at abby.sawyer@dnr.mo.gov. Hearing- and speech-impaired individuals may reach Sawyer through Relay Missouri at 800-735-2966.
California Firms Cited for Lead-Based Paint Hazards
EPA announced five lead-based paint enforcement actions—for a combined total of over $64,000 in settlements—in Southern California. These companies failed to comply with federal regulations requiring them to protect workers and the public from exposure to lead.
“Reducing childhood lead exposure and addressing associated health impacts is a top priority for EPA,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “These settlements protect Southern California communities by ensuring that lead paint rules and regulations are followed.”
EPA settled with the following companies for violations of the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA):
  • Pacific Home Remodeling Inc. (Los Angeles, Calif.): The company performed renovation work without EPA certification and without ensuring that the individuals doing the work were certified. These certification requirements protect and train workers to implement practices to protect residents from possible exposure to lead-based paint. Pacific Home Remodeling also did not contain waste from renovation activities and did not retain proper records, such as those ensuring that a certified renovator performed on-the-job training for workers and performed post-renovation cleaning verification. The firm agreed to pay a $5,000 civil penalty.
  • Hartman Baldwin Inc. (Claremont, Calif.): The company failed to renew its EPA certification to do renovation work between 2015 and 2019. Hartman Baldwin also failed to post warning signs indicating the potential dangers present and did not retain proper records. The firm agreed to pay a $12,897 civil penalty.
  • Create RE Inc. (El Segundo, Calif.): The company performed renovation work without EPA certification, did not clean the work area of dust, debris and residue, and lacked the proper records demonstrating compliance with lead-safe work practices. The firm agreed to pay a $5,135 civil penalty.
  • Ameko APS Inc. (Pomona, Calif.): The company performed renovation work without EPA certification and failed to retain proper records. In addition, Ameko failed to provide clients with the “Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers and Schools” brochure about lead-safe work practices. The firm agreed to pay a $9,000 civil penalty.
  • EPA settled with McNamara Realty (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) for $32,000 for over 100 violations of TSCA’s Disclosure Rule. The company, among other things, failed to distribute the federal “Protect Your Family from Lead in your Home” brochure, provide lead warning statements, or disclose the potential presence of lead-based paint hazards.
In addition to the penalties, each company has made corrections to its operations, including becoming EPA-certified if not already certified.
Lead exposure can cause a range of negative health impacts and is particularly dangerous for young children because their nervous systems are still developing. In 1978, the federal government banned consumer uses of lead-based paint; however, it is still present in millions of older homes, sometimes under layers of new paint.
The Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule was created to protect the public (especially children under 6) from lead-based paint hazards that occur during repair or remodeling activities in homes and child-occupied facilities built before 1978. The rule requires individuals performing residential renovations be properly trained, certified and follow lead-safe work practices.
The Disclosure Rule requires landlords, property managers, real estate agents, and others who sell or rent houses built before 1978 to provide known information on the presence of lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards to buyers or tenants.
Glovis America Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations
Ventura County, California District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced the settlement of a civil law enforcement action against Glovis America, Inc. (Glovis). Glovis provides import logistics services for automobile manufacturers using the Port of Hueneme to import their vehicles.
On January 27, 2016, representatives of the Del Norte Recycling Center in Oxnard discovered that approximately 75 automobile seatbelt pre-tensioners containing sodium azide had been improperly disposed into the facility. Investigation by the Ventura County Environmental Health Division and the Ventura County District Attorney's Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit revealed the pre-tensioners originated from Glovis' Port Hueneme facility.
The settlement resolves allegations that Glovis violated environmental protection laws by failing to label, improperly storing, and improperly disposing of hazardous waste. The settlement further resolves allegations that Glovis did not properly file a hazardous materials business plan for its facility in the Port of Hueneme and committed acts of unfair competition by failing to follow these procedures.
Under the agreed-upon judgment, the court ordered Glovis to comply with California environmental laws prohibiting unauthorized disposal of hazardous waste and to develop appropriate procedures to prevent the release of such waste. Glovis must also develop a training program for its employees regarding hazardous waste management. Under the terms of the settlement, Glovis will pay $91,152.96 in restitution, cost-recovery, and civil penalties, including $67,500 to the District Attorney's Office, $15,000 to the California Toxic Substances Control Account General Fund, and $8,652.96 to the Ventura County Environmental Health Division. Glovis is also permanently enjoined from committing similar violations in the future.
Delek to Pay $2.2 Million Fine for Oil Spill
EPA announced a settlement with Delek Logistics Operating, LLC, Delek Logistics Partners, LP, and SALA Gathering Systems, LLC (Delek) to resolve alleged violations relating to a 2013 oil spill from Delek’s oil storage and transfer station in Magnolia. Under the settlement, Delek will enhance environmental protections at its Magnolia facility and pay $2,255,460 in civil penalties.
In a complaint filed jointly with co-plaintiff the State of Arkansas, the EPA asserted claims under the Clean Water Act arising from Delek’s failure to properly operate and maintain the Magnolia facility, and for the resulting oil spill. Arkansas asserted similar claims, as well as claims related to Delek’s failure to properly manifest, transport, and dispose of hazardous wastes. According to the complaint, the oil spill occurred on March 8, 2013, and impacted approximately 3.5 miles of a creek and Little Cornie Bayou. The waters of Little Cornie Bayou eventually flow into the Ouachita River. As alleged in the complaint, pipeline corrosion and improperly maintained facilities were contributory causes of the oil spill.
“Oil spills can cause serious damage to the environment and local economies,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine. “Today’s settlement shows that EPA will hold companies responsible if they fail to take the necessary steps to prevent spills.”
“EPA knows how important Arkansas’s creeks and rivers are to the people of Arkansas,” said Region 6 Administrator Ken McQueen. “That’s why we worked closely with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to address the oil spill violations and ensure that any areas damaged by the spill are restored.”
To resolve the governments’ claims, Delek will enhance environmental protections at the Magnolia facility and will pay civil penalties to the United States and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). Under a proposed consent decree lodged today in federal court, Delek will test the water quality and the soil in areas impacted by the spill and will perform a remedial action if testing indicates a potentially unacceptable human health or ecological risk. Delek will also conduct spill response training and establish caches of spill response materials at the Magnolia facility and near Delek’s refinery in El Dorado. Finally, Delek will pay to the United States $1,705,460 in federal civil penalties for the Clean Water Act violations and pay to ADEQ $550,000 for civil penalties under state law.
The penalty paid to the United States will be deposited in the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund managed by the National Pollution Funds Center. Those funds will be available to pay for federal response activities and to compensate for damages when there is a discharge, or substantial threat of discharge, of oil or hazardous substances to waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines.
The proposed consent decree lodged with the court is subject to a 30-day public comment period, as well as court review and approval. A copy of the consent decree is available on EPA’s website.
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