All News Releases By Date
1. WHITMAN APPOINTS SCIENCE ADVISOR, 2. EPA PROPOSES STORM WATER RUNOFF RULE FOR CONSTRUCTION SITES, 3. EPA AND STATE OF VERACRUZ, MEXICO, AGREE TO ASSESS CONDITION OF COASTAL RESOURCES, 4. ASHLAND INC. TO PAY $10.7 MILLION IN MINNESOTA REFINERY FIRE CASE, 5. FORMER ILLINOIS REFINERY ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGER SENTENCED, 6. WASHINGTON STATE OIL RECYCLING COMPANY SENTENCED, 7. HOUSTON BARGE COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO WATER LAW VIOLATION
Release Date: 05/24/2002
Following are some Agency developments which may interest you. If you need
more information on any of these subjects, call the appropriate contact.
David Deegan email@example.com
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman today announced that, in order to strengthen the role of science at the Agency, she has appointed J. Paul Gilman to be the Agency’s Science Advisor. Gilman was recently sworn in as EPA’s Assistant Administrator of the Office of Research and Development, responsible for coordination and strategic planning for the Agency’s ongoing scientific research efforts. “I am pleased to announce that Paul Gilman will officially serve as my Science Advisor,” said Whitman. “In this capacity, he will be responsible for working across the Agency to ensure that the highest quality science is better integrated into the Agency’s programs, policies and decisions. I am certain that under Paul’s leadership, we are embarking on a new era at EPA – one where our commitment to the quality and relevance of science is greater than ever before.” As Science Advisor, Gilman will be charged with ensuring that the Agency draws on the best science to support policy development and decision making as EPA fulfills its mission of protecting human health and the environment, ensuring a good quality of life for the American people. Specifically, Gilman will work closely with Administrator Whitman’s Regulatory Development and Task Force Review on science issues, review policies and procedures related to the Science Advisory Board, recommend options to improve the Integrated Risk Information System and develop recommendations regarding the role of EPA Regional Laboratories. Prior to joining EPA, Gilman has held numerous senior positions in both government and private industry where he has been involved in science policy development and research.
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman recently signed a proposed rule to control storm water runoff from construction sites. EPA is seeking comment on three different approaches, plus variations, to reduce water pollution associated with construction. The proposal includes options that work in conjunction with existing federal and state storm water regulations to further promote better management of construction sites and support land management decisions by state and local governments. These options provide flexibility to builders and government agencies to ensure that unique site-specific concerns, such as soil type, local environmental needs and rainfall, are taken into consideration when determining how best to control construction site runoff. The agency will accept comment on the proposal for four months. One proposal, which builds upon existing federal storm water regulations, establishes a national effluent guideline specifying the types of runoff controls needed and criteria for how best to design them. A second proposal relies on site inspections and certifications (regarding the proper installation of controls) to improve implementation of the existing regulations. The third proposal relies on effective implementation of the existing regulations. Additional information can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/waterscience/guide/construction .
ASSESS CONDITION OF COASTAL RESOURCES
EPA’s Office of Research and Development and the Government of the State of Veracruz, Mexico, signed an agreement on May 20 to cooperate in conducting a coastal monitoring and assessment program on the State of Veracruz’s Gulf of Mexico coast. The objectives of this international project are to assess the ecological “health” of the estuarine resources of Veracruz and provide an ecological baseline to assess the effectiveness of environmental management activities. The effort is a first step in developing a Gulf-wide, international program between the U.S. and Mexico. It will provide training and technical transfer opportunities and serve as an example of the usefulness of such coastal monitoring and assessment data for other Gulf-coast states of Mexico. EPA will transfer coastal monitoring and assessment technologies, provide technical expertise and sampling equipment to conduct the coastal assessment of estuaries of Veracruz, and assist in analyzing the environmental samples and interpreting the resulting data. Field sampling, set to begin in June, will last about 4-6 weeks and will be followed by laboratory testing of sediments, water samples and fish tissues, and statistical analysis and interpretation of the data. The monitoring and assessment program will be continued for at least five years, and a scientific report on the condition of the estuaries of Veracruz is anticipated in 2007.
Ashland Inc., of Covington, Ky., pleaded guilty on May 13 to negligent endangerment under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and to submitting a false certification to environmental regulators. The company will pay out a total of $10.7 million in fines, payments to injured parties, compensation to respondents to the resulting fire and for local pollution control improvements. The defendant also agreed to a deferred prosecution for a violation of the New Source Performance Standards provisions of the CAA. The CAA violations led to an explosion and fire on May 16, 1997, at the refinery in St. Paul Park, Minn., which severely injured one man and hurt four other individuals. The injuries were the result of Ashland’s failure to properly seal a manhole cover on a sewer used to transport flammable hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons leaked from the manhole cover, became airborne and reached an ignition source. The initial fire was extinguished, but a second leak of hydrocarbons from the manhole cover ignited and injured members of a cleanup crew. The false certification violation occurred after the fire when Ashland told the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in July 1997 that its sewer system was in compliance with the CAA and Ashland failed to reveal that a manhole cover had been unsealed and that a fire had resulted. Under the agreement, Ashland will pay $3.5 million to the severely injured man and pay medical coverage for him and his family. The four other injured workers will receive $10,000 each. In addition, Ashland will pay a $3.5 million criminal fine, sponsor a workshop at a national petroleum conference dealing with the Clean Air Act’s New Source Performance Standards for petroleum wastewater systems, take out full-page notices in two major Twin Cities newspapers concerning this incident and its resolution, pay $50,000 to each fire department that responded to the incident and add $50,000 Ashland’s own Emergency Response Team Budget. Ashland will also perform $3.7 million in upgrades to the treatment system at the St. Paul Park Refinery to ensure that this type of situation does not reoccur. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Minneapolis and the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section.
Ronald Snook of Coal City, Ill., former Environmental Manager at Premcor’s Blue Island Refinery near Chicago, was sentenced to serve 21 months imprisonment and pay a $1,000 fine on May 14. Snook was previously convicted of conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA) and concealing information from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). Between 1993 and March 1997, Snook conspired with Premcor, Elva Carusiello, Premcor’s former Environmental Engineer and Assistant Environmental Manager at Blue Island, and Environmental Monitoring and Technologies Inc. (EMT), of Morton Grove, Ill., a consultant to Premcor, to not report violations of the Blue Island Refinery’s CWA discharge permit. The permit limited the pH of the refinery’s wastewater discharges and also limited the amount of fats, oils and grease that the refinery could release into sewers operated by the MWRD. The scheme involved failing to report tests that indicated the refinery was out of compliance with its discharge permit. The discharge of wastewater with higher than permitted levels of pollutants and having a high or low pH value can harm sewage treatment equipment and can also harm fish and wildlife. In previous court actions in this case, Premcor paid a $2 million fine, EMT paid a $50,000 fine and Carusiello pleaded to a CWA violation. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago.
Clean Care Corp. of Tacoma, Wash., was sentenced on May 10 to pay $107,937 in restitution to the Washington State Department of Ecology and serve five years corporate probation. Clean Care previously pleaded guilty to two felony violations of the Clean Water Act. The charges arose when the Clean Care facility in Tacoma used a pipe to illegally discharge wastewater and waste oil into a storm drain that led to a drainage ditch that led to Commencement Bay, which is part of Puget Sound. The release of waste oil into surface waters can harm a variety of fish, aquatic life and wildlife that use the waters for habitat and drinking. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Washington State Environmental Crimes Task Force, with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations operation. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle.
Western Towing Co. of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty on May 16 to violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). Western Towing formerly operated a barge cleaning operation in Houston. Western Towing used river water to pressure-wash the cargo compartments of barges used to transport steel products, grain, gravel, sand, fertilizer and gypsum. The company had a CWA discharge permit which allowed it to discharge treated wastewater into the river, however the defendant did not treat the wastewater first. Discharging untreated barge cleaning wastewater into surface waters can harm fish and aquatic life and can make river waters unsuitable for recreational and drinking water usage. When sentenced, Western Towing faces a fine of up to $500,000 and/or up to five years probation. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Houston Police Department’s Environmental Investigations Unit, with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations operation. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston.
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