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EPA increases environmental enforcement actions in Pacific Islands by 119 percent in 2003

Release Date: 12/11/2003
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

HONOLULU--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency increased its enforcement actions against polluters in the Pacific Islands such as Guam, American Samoa and the Marianas in 2003 by 119 percent over 2002 efforts.

The EPA took 15 enforcement actions in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and nine actions in Guam during the past year, for a total of 24 actions against businesses and government organizations throughout the Pacific Islands area, up from 11 in 2002.

"A strong enforcement program is one of the primary tools the EPA employs in ensuring companies comply with environmental regulations," said Wayne Nastri, administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest Office in San Francisco. "Thanks to our partnerships with the states, tribes, territories and local communities, we are continuing to bring cleaner air, water and land to all residents of CNMI, Guam and American Samoa."

Nationally, the EPA increased environmental benefits from enforcement actions by 131 percent over 2002 efforts reducing, treating or managing roughly 600 million pounds of pollutants this past year compared to 260 million pounds in 2002.

Below are a number of agency enforcement highlights for the Pacific Islands for 2003. Please go to for a full description of the EPA's enforcement actions throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands in 2003.

Some of the enforcement highlights include:

-Roberto Ramilo pleaded guilty to tampering and falsifying drinking water and water samples that he submitted to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands' Division of Environmental Quality under the EPA's safe drinking water program. Ramilo, who was charged under the name"Angelito Delos Santos," provided water samples to garment factories, restaurants and bottled water companies on Saipan. He admitted he tampered with samples and falsified information to conceal that his water treatment and filtration equipment failed to meet Safe Drinking Water Act standards. Ramilo was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 15 months imprisonment, fined $3,000, and ordered to serve 300 hours of community service. He will be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence.

-The U.S. Army, as part of a settlement with the EPA, paid $91,125 in penalties for the release of a small amount of VX nerve agent, and agreed to spend $182,500 to revegetate portions of Johnston Atoll, approximately 800 miles southwest of Hawai'i. The Army is working with the Air Force, U.S. Department of Interior and the EPA to restore Johnston Atoll to a wildlife refuge after years of serving as the Army's first major chemical agent disposal base.

-Guam Waterworks Authority and the government of Guam agreed to take specific measures to improve drinking water and wastewater systems that serve 150,000 people. Each of Guam Waterworks' five wastewater treatment plants has a long history of failing to meet permit limits for pollutants discharged from the plants. The agreement requires Guam Waterworks to complete short-term construction and rehabilitation projects and improve its management and operations and maintenance.

-The EPA cited facilities for underground fuel tank regulation violations in Saipan, Guam and American Samoa and, included fines against the Commonwealth Health Center for $4,100 on Saipan and the Marriott Resort for $16,500 on Guam. Twenty-seven field citations were issued throughout Hawai'i, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

-The EPA ordered Clean Earth and Solid Builders to clean up oil spills and contaminated soils at their shared storage yard in Puerto Rico, Saipan. The two companies were ordered to stop discharging oil from drums and containers and to remove all spilled oil.
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