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EPA Waives $8,565 Penalty After Company Voluntarily Discloses Chemical Reporting Violations
Release Date: 6/7/2001
Contact Information: Donna Heron, (215) 814-5113
Donna Heron, (215) 814-5113
BATH, Pa. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is waiving a potential $8,565 penalty against Encor Coatings Inc. of Montgomeryville, Pa. because the company voluntarily disclosed and corrected toxic chemical release reporting violations at its plant on Route 248 in Bath, Pa., near Allentown.
Acting under an EPA policy that rewards companies for strictly monitoring their own environmental compliance, the agency’s mid-Atlantic office today announced that it is waiving total penalties of $345,100 against Encor Coating and seven other companies in Pennsylvania and Virginia that voluntarily disclosed environmental violations.
Acting Regional Administrator Thomas Voltaggio noted that EPA has collected substantial penalties for similar violations. “Companies can protect the environment and their own bottom lines by closely monitoring their regulatory compliance, promptly disclosing and correcting violations, and acting to prevent future problems,” Voltaggio said.
On December 11, 2000, Encor notified EPA that an environmental compliance company, hired to perform an environmental compliance audit, uncovered potential violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) -- the federal law requiring companies to file annual reports on toxic chemicals.
Under EPCRA, companies that manufacture, process or use more than a threshold amount of regulated chemicals must report both routine and accidental releases of these chemicals. Encor discovered that it had inadvertently failed to file timely reports on releases of xylene in 1998 and 1999. The company promptly filed the required reports. Note: the alleged violations involved reporting requirements, not unlawful chemical releases.
EPA determined that the company qualified for a penalty waiver under the agency’s audit policy, which encourages companies to self-police their own compliance with environmental regulations and voluntarily report violations. The policy substantially reduces, and often eliminates, penalties for violations discovered and corrected by a company. The policy does not cover criminal violations, or violations resulting in significant harm to public health or the environment.
EPA determined that the company’s reporting violation did not result in any serious actual harm to human health or the environment. Because the company did not gain a significant economic benefit from these reporting violations, EPA agreed to a complete penalty waiver.
For more information on the policy, call the EPA Business Assistance Center at 800-228-8711 or check out EPA’s web site at www.epa.gov/reg3ecej/audits.htm.