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Release Date: 10/2/2000
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, U.S. EPA, (415)744-1588

     SAN FRANCISCO  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined Valley Refining L.L.C. in Maricopa County, Ariz. $39,993 for numerous federal environmental violations following an accidental chemical release at the facility last year.
     Equipment failure on November of 1999 resulted in the release of 105 pounds of diphenyl into the air.  The reportable amount of diphenyl is 100 pounds and requires immediate notification to the Arizona State Emergency Response Commision, the Maricopa County Local Emergency Planning Commission and the National Response Center required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act and the Superfund Law.  

     "Companies working with hazardous chemicals have a responsibility to their employees and the surrounding neighborhood to report chemical releases" said Keith Takata, the EPA's Superfund Division director of the Pacific Southwest region.  "Maintaining a close watch over chemical reporting practices is critical to our mission of protecting the public and the environment."      

     The EPA is citing the facility specifically for:
                    failing to notify federal, state, and local authorities about the release of a hazardous substance
                    failing to provide written follow up
                    failing to provide an annual hazardous material inventory

         Exposure or inhalation to diphenyl can have liver and kidney effects and/or cause central and nerve disorders.  

         Federal law requires immediate notification of a reportable release in order for emergency response teams to evaluate the nature and extent of a hazardous substance release, prevent exposure and minimize consequences.
     Further information about Community Right-To-Know, Superfund and hazardous substance release notification requirements may be obtained by calling the U.S. EPA's toll-free number at 1-800-535-0202.