Tuesday, January 31, 2012

EPA Shakedown : It's all about the Green

Shakedown stories from Jan 13 - Jan 31, 2012

Southern Wood Piedmont : $317,000

Fined for not having enough money.

Really. The story mentions twice that the company is fined for not having enough money to close and cleanup hazardous waste sites. It is not for polluting or violations at the sites.

US Navy : $161,000

Fined for failure to look for leaks.

Well, a little more than that but basically that is it. This is in relation to 53 underground fuel storage tanks. There was a total of 37 violations. There was some missing equipment. However, the story stresses that the fine is about failure to monitor. There was no leak or pollution.

The insane thing is this is the government fining the government. Is there no honor among thieves?

Navistar : $1900 per Engine (WARNING)

Warning of a fine if the company's heavy-duty engines do not meet 2010 regulations.

Why is this listed? Ties into next fine citing; theme is inconsistency. Basics of the story is that the company's medium-duty engine emissions are better than the EPA regulations. This earned the company credits that it could apply to its heavy-duty engines. These credits run out soon.

Story does not say what the performance of the heavy-duty engines is. It basically says it has not yet certified if the company's heavy-duty engines will meet EPA standards. The Navistar website does lead one to believe that the engines will meet the EPA standards.

EPA has given a warning and is speculating on future fines.

Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority : $0 or $37,500

Violating air pollution laws.

This article is really back and forth and unclear. There is no clear detail of what is wrong. The Authority was told to stop work of a demolition, and yet after working with the EPA, are required to do the demolition. It seems the resolution of the problem is to continue what they were told to stop. Somehow asbestos is involved.

They face potential fines, but yet there are no fines. Read the article. Maybe something is wrong with my reading skills. Leave a comment if you can distill the violation, the resolution, and fines, if any.

So why is this story mentioned? It dovetails the Navistar story where the EPA warns or speculates fines for Navistar. Here is a direct quote of the last two paragraphs of the Buffalo story:
Sanders said she does not expect the authority to face any fines and stressed that it will comply with federal and state standards.

When asked whether fines are still possible, EPA spokesman Elias Rodriguez said the agency "does not speculate about potential enforcement matters."
Sanders is the Executive Director of the BMHA.

Custom Apple Packers : $69,480

Fined because the EPA lost paperwork.

This is a "he said she said" story. Officially the fine is because CAP does not have a plan for dealing with an anhydrous ammonia leak in its cooling units. The fine is not for an anhydrous ammonia leak. PAC claims that a plan was filed.

The fine is for the years 2002-2009 when no leaks happened. The fine is for the EPA not having PAC's plan of action on file. Story does not state if any warning were issued. PAC assumed everything was okay because they claim they have heard nothing, so no warnings issued?

However, PAC paid the fine. Why? Direct quote from story:
Brown said it was less costly to settle with the federal agency rather than fight the issue in court, so it agreed Wednesday to pay the fine.
Brown is the attorney that represents PAC.

Oregon Potato Co. : $66,235

Fined for not reporting an accident.

There was a release of 300 pounds of anhydrous ammonia. No one was injured.

Snowmobiles : $100

Fined for being noisy.

In Colorado, if your snowmobile is louder than 88 decibels you can be fined $100. Yellowstone is setting up 50 sound meters to catch violators.

I did a quick search on snowmobile pollution regulations and the only regulations are on the manufacturers. Owners do not get fined if their snowmobile pollutes, only if it is noisy. Please comment if I am wrong and missed a regulation/law.

It's all about the Green

Oil Companies : Case Dropped

Prosecuted for the deaths of some mallard ducks.

EPA went to prosecute oil companies because some mallard ducks landed in a pool of ground oil and died. Numbers are lacking.

Case was dropped. Point in article is house cats kill many birds a year. By extension, many cat owners would face fines too.

City of Lebanon[1] [2] : $21,600

Fined for pollutants into stormwater sewers, or a poor environmental bribe?

Originally fined for $81,600, the city of Lebanon was threatened an $177,500 fine is they did not immediately fix their stormwater sewers. Lebanon did and the fine was reduced to $21,600. What is up with the odd dangling hundreds? Why no rounded thousands?

The city proposed a "green infrastructure" project instead of paying the fine. The EPA encouraged the proposal, but denied the final concept. The project was an aeration fountain in a feeder pond. It was a $25,000 dollar project in which the city would pay $5,000 and $20,000 from a private contributor.

It is surely better that the city loses more money as the EPA spends a total lesser sum on what it deems better.

Great quotes:
"I think it is in our DNA now as United States citizens to just accept whatever it is that the federal government comes down and says we have to do," (Councilman) Dissinger said.

Dissinger speculated on what would happen if the city stood up to the EPA and said no. It was a suggestion Royer supported.

"I think we need to start somewhere," she said. "I think we need to be pioneers and say to the federal government we are not putting up with this crap anymore."
Councilman Richard Wertz said he didn't like the outcome but was ready to put it behind the city.

"To me, we were being bullied around," he said. "But ... we need to move on."

Mendocino County [1] [2]: $123,000

Not an EPA fine. Fine from Mendocino County Air Quality Management District.

The county is screwing itself. This is financial political masturbation. The county fines itself the money. WTF? This is weirder than the EPA fining the Navy.

I have now hit a limit of drinking that I do not care to distill the facts of this case. As you can probably tell, it has become quite stupid.

It's all about the Green



1 comment:

  1. The EPA needs to either flat out go, or massively defunded and shrunk. Yeah, we need some people to go after those A-holes that dump toxic crap in the water, but leave hard working people alone!