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U.S. EPA and UNOCAL Settle Air Emissions Reporting Case
Release Date: 8/15/2003
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297
LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it has fined the Union Oil Company of California (UNOCAL) $105,600 for failing to file timely or accurate reports estimating its releases of toxic chemical compounds, a violation of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
The releases were from the company’s refinery in Wilmington, which UNOCAL no longer owns.
The company failed to properly report its releases of ammonia, hexane, methy tert-butyl ether, sulfuric acid, tetrachloroethylene and 1,1,1 trichloroethane to the environment in 1996. These chemicals are used to refine oil or produced as a by-product during the oil refining process. Tetrachloroethylene is a known carcinogen.
An EPA inspector discovered the violations during a routine inspection in 2000.
"Companies working with hazardous chemicals have a responsibility to their employees and the surrounding neighborhood to report chemical releases," said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA's Cross Media Division director for the Pacific Southwest. "The EPA is maintaining a close watch over chemical reporting practices."
Federal law requires certain facilities with ten or more employees using chemicals over certain amounts to file annual reports of chemical releases with the EPA and the state. The reports estimate the amounts of each toxic chemical released to the environment, treated or recycled on-site, or transferred off-site for waste management. Information is then compiled into a national database and made available to the public.
Each year the EPA publishes a report entitled the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Public Data Release, which summarizes the prior years submissions and provides detailed trend analysis of toxic chemical releases. More information on the program can be obtained by calling (800) 424-9346.
The U.S. EPA's environmental databases, including TRI data, can also be accessed via the Internet at: www.epa.gov/enviro.
Further information about the TRI program can be found at: www.epa.gov/opptinitr/tri.