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EPA increases environmental enforcement actions in Pacific Islands by 40 percent in 2005
Release Date: 11/15/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711,
HONOLULU - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency increased its enforcement actions in 2005 against polluters in the Pacific Islands such as Guam, American Samoa and the Mariana Islands by 40 percent over 2004 efforts.
The EPA took six enforcement actions in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, 10 in American Samoa and 22 in Guam during the past year, for a total of 38 actions against businesses and government organizations throughout the Pacific Islands area. The EPA took 27 actions in 2004, which included two in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, 11 in American Samoa and 14 in Guam.
EPA multimedia settlements will improve the state's air, water and land, benefitting human health and the environment for island residents for years to come.
"Island residents will enjoy cleaner air, water and land for years to come as a result of the EPA working to enforce environmental laws," said Wayne Nastri, administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest Office. "Complying with environmental regulations is a requirement for improved public health."
Below are a number of agency enforcement highlights for the Pacific Islands for 2005:
- Mobil Oil Australia Ltd. and BP Southwest Pacific Ltd. agreed to pay EPA $343,454 to resolve violations of the EPA's gasoline detergent additive regulations in American Samoa. The companies will pay penalties of $69,000 for Mobil Australia and $28, 360 for BP Pacific. Mobil Australia will also spend $160,454 and BP Pacific $85,640 to buy respiratory equipment for the LBJ Medical Center in Faga'alu.
- A settlement with shipping agent FCF Fishery for $20,000 to reimburse the agency for its removal and disposal of old ammonia and Freon gas cylinders stored at a warehouse in Lauli'i Village in American Samoa. The removal in 2004 eliminated the threat of an ammonia release from cylinders discarded by shipping agents that stop in Pago Pago Harbor.
- Ordered American Samoa shipping agents to reimburse the agency $140,623 for its removal and disposal of old ammonia and freon gas cylinders stored at a warehouse in Pago Pago Harbor. The EPA requires responsible parties be held liable for all costs in responding to any release or threatened release of hazardous substances.
- EPA inspectors issued fines totaling $2,100 to four facilities during a recent round of underground storage tank inspections in American Samoa. Compliance is necessary to protect American Samoa's vital groundwater and coastal resources.
- Fined the shipyard owner, Southwest Marine of Samoa, $19,5000 for oil spill prevention violations and oil releases into Pago Pago Harbor, on Tutuila Island. Oil spills can cause serious environmental damage delicate coral reef ecosystems and marine.
Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands
- Ordered the Commonwealth Health Center located in Saipan, CNMI, to stop operating its medical waste incinerator which was not in compliance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act. The center agreed to comply with the order by ceasing operations by January 2006 and putting an alternative medical waste treatment method into place. An alternative treatment program that complies with federal requirements will reduce the threat of exposure to toxic air pollutants.
- Ordered Clean Earth Co. to correct oil spill prevention violations in the Puerto Rico area of Saipan, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. The EPA requires facilities to maintain oil spill control plans and effective spill containment to prevent contaminating the environment.
- Pedro Q. Babauta was sentenced to 12 months in jail and fined $5,000 in federal court in Saipan for two counts of submitting false documents to the EPA. Babauta was accused of knowingly and intentionally falsified drinking water reports submitted to the EPA in 2001 and 2003.
- Ordered JG Sablan Rock quarry Inc. to clean up and correct the way the company manages used oil at its facility in Saipan. In March 2005, EPA inspectors discovered 2,000 gallons of used oil and 85 severely corroded and leaking containers of used oil at the facility.
- Ordered the Commonwealth Port Authority to clean up and improve its treatment, handling, storage and disposal of used oil and hazardous waste at its Saipan International Airport facility. In March 2005, EPA inspectors found the facility left containers of hazardous waste open and stored its hazardous waste and used oil in severely corroded and leaking containers.
- Fined the Guam Waterworks Authority $ 23,750 for not completing requirements under an order to improve the utilities' drinking water and wastewater systems. A June 2003 order required the utility to ensure working, appropriately sized standby generators are available for all wastewater pump stations, treatment plants, and wells that are critical to the three public water systems. The order stipulates that the utility provide a dependable, clean source of drinking water and effective wastewater treatment for the island. These fines are part of the EPA's continued oversight of GWA's work to ensure compliance and deliver improved public health protection.
- Worked with Guam Environmental Protection Agency staff, inspected and fined eight Guam Waterworks Authority facilities a total of $3,000 for underground storage tank violations. The EPA frequently conducts unannounced tank inspections. Other owners and operators who are cited include Pacific Islands Club, Location, Ladera Towers, Location, Plumeria Resort on CNMI.
- Quality Swimming Pools of Tamuning, Guam, agreed to pay the EPA $4,160 for importing unlabeled pesticides. EPA requires proper labeling attached to products so that consumers will know if the products are registered with the EPA and have no information on the effects of the products, which could result in harm to the consumer and the environment.
- Fined the Guam Department of Public Works $7,250 for missing the required deadline to identify a site for the island's new municipal solid waste landfill. The 2004 consent decree sought to address the public health and environmental issues associated with the over-capacity, out-of-compliance dump.
- Unitek Environmental Guam settled with the EPA For $14,000 to settle hazardous waste violations discovered during an inspection in 2003. Unitek is a transporter of hazardous waste and an environmental consultant company in Guam.
- Settled with a Los Angeles area company, W & W Marketing Corp., for $9,6000 for the alleged sale and distribution of two unregistered pesticides. The company distributed unregistered swimming poll disinfectants. The pesticides, originally shipped from China, were found in Tamuning, Guam.
Please go to https://www.epa.gov/region09 for a full description of the EPA's enforcement actions throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands in 2005. For information on the EPA's national enforcement summary for 2005, go to: https://www.epa.gov/compliance/data/results/annual/fy2005.html