January 20, 2020
The DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a final rule in the federal register regarding Underground Natural Gas Storage facilities (UNGSF) after considering comments received on a 2016 Interim Final Rule
which addressed critical safety issues related to downhole facilities, including well integrity, wellbore tubing, and casing.
The PIPES Act of 2016 required PHMSA to enact minimum federal safety standards for UNGSF and address safety concerns following an October 2015 through February 2016 natural gas leak near Aliso Canyon, California. That incident resulted in the estimated release of 4.62 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
“The Aliso Canyon incident was one of the largest natural gas releases in U.S. history and affected the lives of thousands of Americans living and working nearby,” said PHMSA Administrator Skip Elliott. “Compliance with this rule will go a long way toward preventing an incident of that magnitude from happening again.”
The final rule incorporates the American Petroleum Institute’s Recommended Practices (RP) 1170 and 1171 by reference into the pipeline safety regulations as written. RPs 1170 and 1171 outline safety standards for several types of underground facilities and provide a minimum federal standard for inspection, enforcement, and training. These standards will directly apply to approximately 200 interstate facilities and serve as the minimum federal standard for approximately 200 intrastate facilities.
The rule also clarifies the threshold for reportable changes and events which require PHMSA notification and revises the definition of an Underground Natural Gas Storage facility.
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New Mexico Is Using FLIR to Find Emissions Violations
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) identified potential emission violations of methane and other air contaminants from oil and gas operations throughout the state using forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras. The FLIR video footage collection is now included on the Department’s online interactive methane map. NMED created and periodically updates this map to provide the public with information on how oil and gas operations directly impact their communities.
Footage available on the map now includes FLIR videos received from citizens the Department believes depict potential violations of existing state permits or regulations. The map also contains FLIR videos documenting significant emissions from the Department’s recent flyover compliance inspections.
“The Department is addressing oil and natural gas emissions through innovative compliance assurance measures today as we invest in methane regulations for tomorrow,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “The emissions documented in many of these videos are unacceptable to this Department and pose significant health and safety risks to New Mexico communities and employees of these companies.”
In response to footage received from citizens that may depict potential violations, NMED is sending written notices to oil and gas operators seeking an explanation for and correction to the documented emissions within 14 days. If the operator does not reply in writing to the notice or document the corrections made, the Department may launch an investigation or proceed directly to civil enforcement, which may include the assessment of penalties.
Also as part of NMED’s ongoing compliance assurance activities, helicopter flyovers were conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September and October of 2019. Using FLIR cameras, leaks were identified from flares, tanks and other types of oil and gas equipment. The Department is reviewing the footage to determine if facilities are in compliance with applicable permits and regulations. Of the approximately 5,340 storage tanks observed, 111 were emitting methane and other pollutants at the time of the flyover. Of the approximately 530 flares observed, 13 were unlit and emitting methane and other pollutants.
NMED and EPA plan to conduct additional flyover inspections in the near future. Emissions from oil and gas operations contribute to climate change as well as the formation of ground- level ozone. Several counties, including some in southeast New Mexico, are experiencing increased ozone levels. Aside from adverse public health effects, increasing ozone levels may result in more stringent federal sanctions, including more rigorous permitting requirements.
17 Companies Sued for PFAS Contamination
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a lawsuit
in Washtenaw County Circuit Court against 17 defendants, including 3M and DuPont, for the damages and injury to the State of Michigan caused by contamination from toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively known as PFAS and often referred to as “forever chemicals.”
The lawsuit is the first legal action taken by the state against PFAS manufacturers and continues Michigan’s leadership in tackling the serious and widespread problem of PFAS contamination.
The State’s lawsuit asserts that the following 17 defendants deliberately concealed the dangers of PFAS and withheld scientific evidence, and intentionally, knowingly and recklessly sold, distributed, released, transported, supplied, arranged for disposal or treatment, and handled and used PFAS and PFAS-containing materials in Michigan in a way that they knew would contaminate natural resources and expose Michigan residents to harm:
- Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. – a/k/a 3M;
- DuPont, including its historic corporate self/identity/entity, as well as its post-merger-and-spinoff self – DuPont de Nemours Inc., a/k/a “New DuPont”;
- The Chemours Co., a spinoff of DuPont, and its subsidiary (The Chemours Co. FC LLX);
- Corteva Inc., another DuPont spinoff which was part of Defendant Dow DuPont;
- Dyneon LLC;
- Archroma entities;
- Arkema entities;
- AGC Chemicals Americas Inc.;
- Daikin Industries entities;
- Solvay Specialty Polymers, USA LLC; and
- Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc.
“We bring this action today on behalf of the people of Michigan,” said Nessel. “It is our responsibility to protect our residents and our state’s natural resources and property by preventing and abating hazards to public health, safety, welfare and the environment – and by placing the responsibility for this massive undertaking with those responsible for creating the problem.”
“Since taking office, I’ve been deliberate and focused on protecting our Great Lakes and cleaning up our drinking water,” said Whitmer. “Michigan has been established as a national leader in identifying, monitoring and addressing contamination caused by PFAS. As such, we must continue to protect communities all across our state from harmful PFAS chemicals by holding polluters accountable. Future generations of Michiganders are counting on us to get to work today.”
contends the defendants knew or should have known that:
- PFAS persist in the environment and do not degrade;
- PFAS would accumulate and build up in animals and humans exposed to PFAS;
- PFAS are potential or confirmed carcinogens; and
- continued manufacture and use of PFAS would inevitably result in continued and increased levels of PFAS getting into the environment and into people’s bodies.
The state also contends the defendants knew PFAS are toxic and pose substantial health and environmental risks but hid this information from the state and its residents. Specifically, the companies neglected to tell people what was in the products, suppressed the scientific evidence that the chemicals were hazardous, discharged the chemicals into the environment and distributed the chemicals all over the world, including into Michigan, knowing that PFAS would contaminate natural resources and threaten public health.
“Chemical companies have known for decades that PFAS compounds don’t break down, build up in the human body, and exposures can lead to illness, yet they never warned Michigan consumers or manufacturers of the unintended consequences associated with using these ‘forever’ chemicals,” said Clark. “There is ample evidence that PFAS represents a clear and present danger to Michigan’s drinking water, our economy and our quality of life. Michigan deserves fair compensation from the chemical companies that profited from the sale of PFAS chemicals in our state.”
Exposure to PFAS is correlated with several harmful and serious health effects including but not limited to:
- Decreased fertility;
- Pregnancy induced hypertension and/or preeclampsia
- Liver damage;
- Thyroid disease;
- Problems with cholesterol levels;
- Immune system problems; and
- Increased likelihood of cancer, especially kidney and testicular cancers.
“Without widespread action to investigate, remediate and restore the resources in Michigan impacted by PFAS contamination, the presence and migration of PFAS in our state’s natural resources and property will continue unchecked and indefinitely, threatening natural resources, property and our residents,” concluded Nessel. “We are committed to ensuring that the companies responsible for unleashing PFAS on our state will stand up to their legal obligations and responsibilities. Their reprehensible conduct demands Gov. Whitmer and I take every legal and regulatory action necessary to protect the people and natural resources of our state.”
Range Resources Ordered to Address Leaking Gas Well
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has ordered Range Resources-Appalachia, LLC (Range Resources) to address its gas well in Moreland Township, Lycoming County, which has caused methane to escape and pollute groundwater and multiple surface waters.
“We have attempted to resolve this in good faith but after numerous attempts, the operator still has not completely addressed these violations,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We expect companies to abide by our environmental laws and regulations and they must be held accountable if their work results in violations that negatively impact our environment. Range Resources’ refusal at times to accept responsibility and finally address this problem is unacceptable and that is why DEP is issuing this order.”
Drilling of the well took place in February and March of 2011, and completion occurred in June 2011. During an inspection in early 2012, DEP discovered the presence of methane and pressure in the well due to defective cement. DEP also received complaints of discolored water in nearby groundwater-fed private wells. Range Resources offered corrective action at DEP’s request, but DEP determined the plan was inadequate.
In September 2013, DEP issued a Notice of Violation to Range Resources for the leaking gas well, but the operator refused to accept responsibility and correct the defective cement that allowed gas flow into the private water wells and nearby streams. DEP continued to identify private water wells near the gas well that contained elevated levels of dissolved methane and Range Resources eventually installed treatment systems on 11 identified impacted water supplies.
On May 11, 2015, DEP issued an administrative order requiring Range Resources to take certain corrective actions regarding the gas well. However, DEP found the company’s remedial plan insufficient to prevent further leaks and pollution.
In a June 2015 letter, DEP notified Range Resources of its intent to assess a civil penalty. The operator appealed the letter before the Environmental Hearing Board, but also submitted a remedial plan to DEP’s satisfaction, so DEP did not assess the penalty.
However, Range Resources’ remedial actions since 2015 have failed to eliminate the impacts of methane from the gas well on the fresh groundwater and nearby streams. Further, while attempting to re-enter the well bore in late 2016, the operator mistakenly drilled outside the casing of the gas well, leaving an open bore hole near the gas well. The order requires Range Resources to address both the gas well and open bore hole.
“We have been working with Range Resources but have been met with sporadic cooperation, which will no longer be tolerated,” McDonnell said. “Through a rigorous investigation, DEP has determined that Range Resources is responsible for the leak and must take corrective actions as outlined in this order, which seeks to resolve this environmental issue once and for all.”
Failure to comply with the order could result in additional enforcement actions.
Builder Faces $9 Million Penalty for Stormwater Violations
Following a multi-year investigation into unauthorized sediment discharges at a luxury home construction site in southern Orange County, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a $9 million administrative complaint against Baldwin & Sons and associates.
The developer, on multiple occasions from September 2015 to March 2016, is alleged to have violated the Statewide Construction Storm Water Permit at its Portola subdivision, an ongoing project of 900 luxury homes built on steep, sloping terrain in the city of Lake Forest.
During wet weather events, sediment flows downstream and transports pollutants directly to Aliso Creek, its tributaries and offsite mitigation areas. These discharges cloud the receiving water, which reduces the amount of sunlight reaching aquatic plants, and can clog fish gills, smother spawning areas, and transport other materials such as nutrients, metals, and oil and grease that negatively impact aquatic life and habitat.
The stormwater permit, which is designed to protect against weather-related environmental damage originating at building sites, requires developers to implement precautionary measures such as slope stabilization, erosion and sediment control, curtailment of activity when it rains, and the use of sediment basins and traps to contain highly erosive soils.
When Baldwin & Sons continued to illegally discharge and ignore stop-work and cease- and-desist orders issued by city officials, the San Diego Water Board was asked to help bring the developers into compliance. Staff quickly began working with the Portola site operators to set up meetings and inspections, and ultimately requiring the operator to take significant corrective action to prevent further environmental harm.
The complaint details how the investigation was further complicated by a number of factors, including the company’s refusal to provide information required by a subpoena; the complex relationship between Baldwin & Sons and numerous other entities with similar corporate officers; and lawsuits Baldwin filed against some project subcontractors.
“This homebuilder’s conduct is particularly egregious and deserving of a substantial penalty,” said James Smith, Assistant Executive Officer of the San Diego Water Board.
The administrative complaint and supporting evidence, which includes more than 440 exhibits, is available for public review and comment prior to a regional board hearing, tentatively set for April. The board at that time will determine whether to uphold the violations and adopt a final order.
Contractor to Pay $741,466 for Stormwater Pollution Violations
An international construction company agreed to pay a $741,466 penalty
for unauthorized sediment and stormwater discharges to Murrieta Creek for months during the building of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control project in Temecula.
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board determined that Obrascón Huarte Lain, S.A. (OHL), the contractor hired by the federal agency to perform the work, violated the Board’s Construction General Permit for 18 months, from October 2015 to June 2017, by failing to include best management practices in its stormwater pollution prevention plan to contain sediment; utilizing risk calculations that underestimated the sediment loss; and neglecting to inspect and address deficiencies that resulted in dozens of sediment-laden discharges.
Murrieta Creek is upstream of the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve and the Santa Margarita River Estuary, areas that provide important refuge, foraging, and breeding grounds for several threatened and endangered species. During wet weather, sediment discharges can cloud the receiving water and reduce the amount of sunlight reaching aquatic plants, negatively impacting aquatic life and habit. These flows can also clog fish gills, smother habitat and spawning areas, and transport other materials such as nutrients, metals, and oil and grease.
Owners of construction sites larger than one acre must enroll in the General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Construction and Land Disturbance Activities, which is designed to protect against weather-related environmental damage originating at construction sites. Among other things, the permit requires developers to hire a “stormwater professional” to design and install erosion and sediment controls, ensure slope stabilization, curtail activity when it rains and use basins and traps to contain highly erosive soils.
In addition to paying the fine, the contractor agreed to improve oversight for a minimum of five years by creating a position to guarantee permit compliance, assigning a senior manager to oversee operations, and discontinuing the use of current in-house stormwater personnel during future projects in California.
Illinois EPA Refers Modern Plating Corporation to Attorney General for Enforcement
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director John J. Kim has referred an enforcement action to the Illinois Attorney General's office against Modern Plating Corporation located at 701 South Hancock Avenue, Freeport (Stephenson County). The referral cites violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and Illinois Pollution Control Board Regulations related to a release of hydrochloric acid at the facility.
On January 14, 2020, Stephenson County Emergency Management Agency contacted the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to report a gas or vapor cloud of hydrochloric acid that had been unintentionally released from a ruptured 5,500-gallon poly tank at the facility. The release was continuing at the time of the report. As a result of the release, emergency responders were alerted, and the facility was evacuated. Local residents to the north and east were alerted to shelter in place until the order was lifted at 10:00 p.m. that evening. Based on additional reports by the company, impacts from the release include 30 feet by 80 feet of soils and asphalt pavement as well as an adjacent ditch-line. An environmental contractor was hired to clean-up the release outside the building.
Illinois EPA responded to the scene on January 15, 2020 and observed surface liquid in a nearby field, requiring the contractor to take additional steps to protect the Pecatonica River and prevent off-site impacts. It is estimated that 4,800 gallons of 40-60 percent hydrochloric acid was lost when the bottom of the tank failed.
In the referral, the Agency cited numerous violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and asked the Attorney General to obtain an order enjoining the company to immediately address the release at the site, including appropriate remediation. Once immediate concerns are addressed, Illinois EPA requests that Modern Plating submit a plan to prevent a future reoccurrence.
$1.95 Million Penalty for Pennsylvania Oil Spill
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it has issued a $1.95 million civil penalty to Sunoco Pipeline for violations resulting from construction activities on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project at Raystown Lake in Penn Township, Huntingdon County.
“Sunoco’s drilling activities resulted in the release of drilling fluids to the bottom of Raystown Lake. In numerous cases, the company failed to immediately report those releases,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “In addition to a financial penalty, we are also ordering Sunoco to undertake a number of environmental projects to improve the aquatic habitat in Raystown Lake.”
DEP discovered that between April and December 2017, Sunoco failed to immediately report losses of circulation comprising of 3 million gallons of drilling fluid during horizontal directional drilling (HDD) activities. As a result, more than 208,000 gallons of drilling fluids surfaced as an inadvertent return covering approximately 8 acres of the lake bottom.
Unauthorized discharges of drilling fluids violate the state’s Clean Streams Law and Dam Safety and Encroachments Act. Sunoco’s permits require the company to immediately report losses of circulation.
As noted in the Consent Order and Agreement
(COA) between DEP and Sunoco, the penalty will go to Pennsylvania’s Clean Water Fund and Dams and Encroachments Fund. In addition, with the approval of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Sunoco must undertake measures to improve the aquatic health of Raystown Lake.
Specifically, Sunoco must implement a fish habitat improvement plan, with a minimum monetary value of $1.15 million, to enhance conditions for the fish community in the lake. Additionally, Sunoco must implement an invasive aquatic vegetation control plan to treat 110 acres of Raystown Lake for invasive plant species.
Failure to comply with the COA could result in additional penalties of $1,000 a day per violation, and any future additional inadvertent returns or losses of circulation could result in additional penalties of $5,000 per day per inadvertent return or loss of circulation.
Dover Greens Sued for Violating Asbestos NESHAP
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Peter Lopez, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 2 announced that the United States has filed a civil lawsuit against Dover Greens, LLC, for violations of the Clean Air Act and EPA’s National Emissions Standards for Asbestos (Asbestos NESHAP) during renovation of the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in Wingdale, New York. Dover Greens violated the CAA and Asbestos NESHAP when it failed to take the necessary precautions and follow the proper protocols pertaining to the removal, handling, and disposal of asbestos. The Asbestos NESHAP is designed to protect the public health by preventing exposure to airborne asbestos fibers during building demolition or renovations, waste packaging, transportation, and disposal.
Along with the lawsuit, the United States has filed a consent decree, agreed to by Dover Greens, that resolves the violations through payment of a $575,000 financial penalty and the imposition of injunctive relief, including a requirement that Dover Greens provide medical monitoring to individuals potentially exposed to airborne asbestos fibers as a result of these violations. The consent decree remains subject to Court approval.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said, “Despite knowing that it was required to comply with asbestos safety regulations, Dover Greens conducted renovations in flagrant violation of those regulations, risking the health of members of the public and workers at the facility. The consent decree ensures that Dover Greens will protect people from asbestos exposure in its further work on the Campus and provides medical monitoring for individuals who may have been exposed to asbestos due to Dover Greens’ conduct. Also, by requiring Dover Greens to pay a substantial penalty, we have sent a strong message that this conduct will not be tolerated.”
EPA Regional Administrator Peter Lopez stated, “We are determined to protect public health and the environment. The Clean Air Act and EPA’s National Emissions Standards for Asbestos have been set in place to do just that. This settlement sends the important message that we will not allow groups or individuals to skirt the law and put people at risk.”
The complaint filed in Manhattan federal court alleges that in October 2013, Dover Greens violated the CAA and Asbestos NESHAP when it rushed to renovate numerous buildings at the Campus (the “October 2013 Work”) in order to prepare the Campus to host a fundraiser. Dover Greens knew that its buildings contained asbestos and that asbestos work practice regulations must be followed. However, it repeatedly failed to comply with these regulations in its work. In particular, the complaint alleges that Dover Greens violated Asbestos NESHAP requirements to inspect the Campus properly and notify EPA before commencing renovation activities; to remove, store, and dispose of asbestos-containing materials safely; and to have a trained representative present during the renovation. As a result of its conduct, Dover Greens’ employees, contractors, and the individuals who attended this fundraiser faced an increased risk of asbestos exposure.
The complaint also alleges that during EPA’s investigation, Dover Greens failed to provide EPA access and information, as required by the CAA.
In the consent decree lodged with the federal court, Dover Greens admitted, acknowledges, and accepts responsibility for the fact that it “failed to follow EPA regulations concerning asbestos when conducting the October 2013 Work.” Dover Greens further admits, acknowledges, and accepts responsibility for the following:
- Dover Greens failed to inspect the buildings at issue thoroughly for the presence of regulated asbestos-containing material (RACM) and notify EPA prior to commencing the October 2013 Work.
- Dover Greens failed to (a) ensure that all RACM was removed before beginning the renovation; (b) ensure that all RACM was adequately wetted before stripping it from buildings; and (c) ensure that all RACM remained wet until it was collected and contained for disposal.
- Dover Greens failed to seal all asbestos-containing materials in leak-tight containers while wet and failed to label containers or plastic bags containing RACM with proper warning labels and the name of the waste generator or the location at which waste was generated.
- Dover Greens failed to (a) dispose of asbestos waste at a proper disposal site; (b) ensure that properly marked vehicles were used to transport asbestos containing waste; (c) and maintain waste shipment records; and
- Dover Greens failed to have a trained representative present during the October 2013 Work.
- The October 2013 Work disturbed asbestos in numerous buildings, potentially exposing Dover Greens’ employees, contractors, and guests to asbestos.
- When EPA sought to investigate the October 2013 Work, Dover Greens failed to provide EPA inspectors with access to the Campus and failed to provide complete responses to EPA’s requests for information.
Pursuant to the consent decree, Dover Greens will pay a civil penalty of $575,000. The consent decree also requires Dover Greens to offer an initial asbestos medical surveillance exam and, if necessary, pay for ongoing medical surveillance for each individual who may have been exposed to asbestos as a result of the October 2013 Work. Further, Dover Greens agrees under the consent decree to conduct routine inspections of and, if necessary, repairs to all buildings on the Campus in order to prevent the release of asbestos fibers into the environment; ensure that warning signs are properly posted on Campus buildings; provide annual asbestos awareness training to Dover Greens’ maintenance employees; comply with a detailed Asbestos Operations & Maintenance Plan designed to minimize the potential for asbestos exposure to Dover Greens’ employees, building occupants, visitors, and workers; and comply in all respects with the CAA and Asbestos NESHAP when conducting asbestos abatement activity.
To provide public notice and to afford members of the public the opportunity to comment, the consent decree will be lodged with the District Court for a period of at least 30 days before it is submitted for the Court’s approval.
U.S. Attorney Berman thanked the attorneys and enforcement staff at EPA Region 2 for their critical work in this matter. This case is being handled by the Office’s Environmental Protection Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Bergman is in charge of the case.
River Products Company Inc. Cited for Stormwater Violations
River Products Company Inc., operator if a limestone quarry in Iowa City, Iowa, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $33,500 to settle alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act. EPA identified the alleged violations when it conducted an inspection at the company’s quarry in April 2019.
As alleged by EPA, the company violated the terms of its Clean Water Act permit when it failed to develop a pollution prevention plan; failed to install and maintain controls to prevent the runoff of stormwater-containing pollutants from the facility; and failed to monitor the runoff of stormwater from the facility. Stormwater from the quarry discharges into Muddy Creek and the Iowa River.
As part of the settlement, the company also updated its pollution prevention plan and certified to EPA that it would comply with its permit and take steps to eliminate discharges to Muddy Creek and the Iowa River.
The Clean Water Act seeks to protect the nation’s water resources. Pollutants in stormwater can violate water quality standards, pose risks to human health, threaten aquatic life and its habitat, and impair the use and enjoyment of waterways. Under the Act, industrial facilities are prohibited from discharging pollutants into water bodies, unless in compliance with a permit issued by EPA or an authorized state. River Products Company Inc. was issued a Clean Water Act permit in 2017 by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Refinery Cited for RMP Violations
EPA announced a settlement agreement with the Torrance Refining Company, LLC over chemical safety and risk management violations. The refinery has corrected the violations, will pay $125,000 in penalties and will spend $219,000 to enhance chemical safety features at the refinery.
“It is critical for the refinery to maintain an up-to-date and accurate Risk Management Plan,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “These actions ensure that facilities handling dangerous materials are minimizing potential impacts to the environment and the surrounding community.”
An EPA inspection found that Torrance Refining violated the Clean Air Act’s Chemical Accident Prevention Program because of inaccuracies in their Risk Management Plan, including:
- Failure to properly conduct a hazard assessment.
- Failure to properly document repairs on equipment.
- Failure to follow emergency operating procedures.
As part of the settlement, the Torrance Refinery has agreed to install a new automated water system to mitigate potential releases at its largest modified hydrofluoric acid tank.
The Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program
requires facilities with significant quantities of toxic substances to develop and implement a Chemical Accident Prevention or Risk Management Program. When properly implemented, risk management plans help prevent chemical releases and minimize their potential impacts at facilities that store large amounts of hazardous substances and flammable chemicals. Facilities are required to update and resubmit their risk management plans at least once every five years. The plans are used by EPA to assess chemical risks to surrounding communities and to prepare for emergency response.
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