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Army to spend $2.3 million in fines, environmental projects in Alaska
Release Date: 9/2/2003
Contact Information: Don Dossett
September 2, 2003
The Northwest office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the U.S. Army will spend a total of $2.3 million to settle a 1999 EPA complaint accusing the Army of years of major violations of the federal Clean Air Act at its Fort Wainwright installation in Alaska. The complaint was subsequently amended to include violations at Fort Richardson.
In the settlement, the Army agrees to pay a $600,000 penalty, install pollution reducing bag-houses on all its coal-fired boilers at the Fort Wainwright central heat and power plants ("CHPP"), and spend an additional $1.7 million on related environmental improvement projects at the two facilities.
Most of the violations in the EPA's 1999 complaint occurred at the facilities' CHPPs which operate coal-fired boilers originally constructed in the 1950s. Ft. Wainwright operates six coal-fired boilers that are part of the largest coal-fired power plant operated by the U.S. military in the world.
An EPA Administrative Law Judge ruled in July 2001 that the Army had indeed committed multiple violations of the Clean Air Act' s requirements. The violations were due primarily to the Army's decade-long failure to install bag-houses on its boilers to control particulate matter. The Army also failed to install and operate monitoring equipment at its CHPP facilities and failed to control fugitive dust emissions. The Army permanently shut-down the Fort Richardson coal-fired boilers in 1999 following a joint ADEC/EPA inspection.
Highly regulated by the states and the EPA, particulate matter is the generic term for the coarse particles -- from sources such as wind blown dust and unpaved roads -- and fine particles -- those from industrial fuel combustion and vehicle exhaust closely linked to respiratory disease. The EPA and the Army estimate that the corrective actions taken at the two facilities will reduce potential emissions at Fort Wainwright by 1140 tons per year (tpy) particulate matter (PM) and at Fort Richardson by 23 tpy PM, 43 tpy carbon monoxide, 41 tpy nitrogen oxides, and 37 tpy sulfur dioxide.
The supplemental environmental projects ("SEPs") on which the Army will spend $1.7 million and which will result in additional environmental improvement include:
2) the decommissioning/retrofitting snowmachines and outboard motors with 2-stroke engines;
3) implementation of a comprehensive reforestation and revegetation program at the installations;
4) acquisition of two street sweepers and the paving of some dirt roads to reduce fugitive dust.
"This is a good outcome in a difficult case," said EPA Regional Administrator John Iani. "While resolution of this case has taken time, it is a clear example of enforcement being the right tool for the job. Using enforcement to shine the light on a long-standing non-compliance issue helped the Army bring the necessary attention and resources to correct the problems. This settlement is a fine example of the federal agencies working together to achieve greater environmental benefits through the Army's willingness to implement a number of supplemental environmental projects. The work that will be done under this settlement ushers in a new era of environmental awareness and stewardship for the Army."
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