Inspections and Environmental Enforcement Cuts Pollution in New England by nearly 13.7 Million Pounds
EPA’s program to enforce environmental laws in the six New England states yielded significant pollution reduction and compliance assurance last year. In fact, EPA’s efforts between Oct. 1, 2006 and Sept. 30, 2007 slashed pollution in New England by 13.68 million pounds – the second highest reduction of pollution in the past five years.
“EPA’s commitment to enforcing our nation’s environmental laws means that we have better protection of our environment and public health in New England,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Protecting the environment is everybody’s responsibility, and companies or individuals who disregard laws to protect our air, land and water should know that EPA continues to vigorously enforce our nation’s laws for a cleaner, healthier America.”
As a result of EPA’s regional environmental enforcement last year, violators will pay more than $148 million in combined penalties and actions to correct violations. Further, in New England an additional $1.1 million is being committed in “supplemental environmental projects” – additional efforts with environmental benefits to the community at large which are sometimes included in a settlement for violations.
EPA’s enforcement actions last year will produce significant health and environmental benefits in New England. For example, under the Superfund enforcement program, nearly 70 million cubic yards of water will be cleaned in Massachusetts – enough to fill approximately 21,400 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Environmental inspections by EPA set record levels for the second consecutive year in New England states, with our field presence at its highest level in the last 10 years. EPA conducted over 1,100 on-site inspections, and more than 600 off-site inspections. By deploying inspectors to New England facilities to evaluate compliance with regulations to ensure clean air and water, and the proper handling and disposal of hazardous materials, EPA is on the front line of protecting people’s health and environment.
EPA’s New England office also held 145 workshops to help citizens and organizations understand their responsibilities for compliance with environmental statutes. This work to promote compliance assistance reached approximately 22,000 individuals in the regulated community. Finally, EPA’s work in New England last year resulted in 25 referrals to the U.S. Dept. of Justice for civil judicial actions.
Highlights of EPA’s New England enforcement efforts include:
· Criminal enforcement of Clean Water Act violations by Hamilton Sundstrand Corp. of Windsor Locks, Conn., resulting in $12 million in fines and environmental projects.
· Lead paint notification settlement with Renaissance Properties in New Haven, Conn. results in 174 units becoming lead-safe at a cost of more than $400,000.
· Air emission compliance at a former pulp and paper mill in Old Town, Maine opens door to possible ethanol production.
· Ceasing unlawful discharge of manure and contaminated wastewater into nearby waters by Country Acres dairy farm in Dixmont, Maine.
· Diesel idling reduced at Peter Pan bus facilities in Boston and Springfield, Mass.
· Expedited action to address unsafe storage and handling of hazardous materials at Clean Harbors facility in Braintree, Mass.
· Reducing combined sewer overflows into the Merrimack River from the Greater Lawrence Sanitary Sewer District in Mass.
· W.R. Grace to complete $18 million of cleanup work at Superfund site in Acton, Mass. including 28 million cubic yards of contaminated groundwater.
· Measures to prevent Oil Spills, such as $157,500 settlement with CN Brown Co. at facilities in N.H. and Maine.
· Settlement with Town of Jaffrey, N.H. will result in $10.5 million upgrade to the municipal waste water treatment plant, protecting the Contoocook River.
· Intensive focus to reduce sanitary sewer overflows in Rhode Island communities.
· Reducing emissions of hazardous chemicals from Rhode Island jewelry artisans.
· Hazardous waste settlement at VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt. to result in comprehensive, region-wide waste tracking system at VA medical centers.
Nationally, today’s report reflects a sustained five-year record of pollution reduction. Since 2003, EPA’s enforcement activities have required companies to invest over $33 billion in pollution control equipment to achieve pollution reductions of nearly 4.5 billion pounds.
In New England, EPA has put special emphasis on reducing environmental crimes, preventing release of hazardous substances, promoting recycling of electronic wastes, reducing emissions of hazardous chemicals, superfund enforcement and sustainable water infrastructure.
For the first time, this year EPA has also compiled detailed Web-based data regarding the previous year’s enforcement and pollution prevention results sorted on a state-by-state basis.
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