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U.S. EPA announces California environmental enforcement accomplishments for 2007: Air and water quality, waste cleanup, land revitalization highlight year

Release Date: 11/15/2007
Contact Information: Allyn Stern 415-972-3952

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement efforts brought over $400 million in environmental and public health benefits to California communities this year.

    The EPA took 173 enforcement actions throughout the state, resulting in significant air and water quality improvements, hazardous waste, solid waste, and oil cleanup, emergency prevention and preparedness, and pesticide regulation.

    “Our actions this year will result in long-lasting benefits to California’s residents,” said Wayne Nastri, administrator for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “The U.S. EPA pursues enforcement against the most serious violators to get results that improve the environment and human health,”

    In California, enforcement highlights for 2007 include:
      • The EPA, the California Air Resources Board, and North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District reached a $5 million settlement with Evergreen Pulp, Inc., that will protect air quality in the Eureka, Calif., area by reducing emissions of particulate matter and hazardous air pollutants from its wood pulp mill by approximately 340 tons annually.
      • Working with the U.S. Department of Justice, the EPA required the city of San Diego to spend approximately $1 billion over the next six years on sewage collection system maintenance, repair, and replacement to prevent future spills of raw sewage. This is the third and final settlement that addresses current violations in the city’s sewer system.
      • The EPA’s enforcement also leads to greater San Luis Rey River protections through a settlement with the Pala Band of Mission Indians, Brown Bulk Transportation Co., Valley Materials and Supply, Inc., and James Brown. The settlement includes a $435,000 penalty and $545,000 toward an environmental project that will protect ecologically valuable property within the San Luis Rey River watershed.
      • The EPA, in partnership with federal and state agencies, reached a settlement with Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, requiring the company to pay nearly $5.3 million in fines for three oil spills. The spills discharged a combined 200,976 gallons of diesel fuel, jet fuel and gasoline into Suisun Marsh in Solano County, Oakland Inner Harbor in Alameda, and Summit Creek in the Sierra Nevada Range in Placer County. The settlement includes a $3.7 million civil penalty, $1.3 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game to compensate for natural resource damages, plus additional funds for restoration projects and stringent oil spill prevention policies to minimize environmental risks and potential damage if future spills occur.
      • After four years of multi-agency efforts to stop illegal dumping on the Torres Martinez Reservation, the EPA, working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, successfully won its lawsuit against Kim Lawson, Lawson Enterprises and Torlaw Realty, requiring the parties to pay up to $42.8 million in cleanup costs and over $2.3 million in civil penalties. In addition, the EPA issued three other enforcement orders to clean up illegal open dumps and recover penalties from dump operators.
      • The EPA entered into agreements with the Army for the Fort Ord Superfund Site in Monterey, Calif. and with the Air Force for the McClellan Superfund Site in Sacramento County that provides for site cleanup and reuse using a combination of U.S. Defense Department and private funds.
      • The EPA used expedited settlement agreements, resulting in a total of $18,800 in fines, to resolve Clean Air Act violations at 26 central California chemical facilities that failed to resubmit risk management plans. Six separate actions for release reporting violations under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act resulted in a total of $219,646 in penalties and $80,000 in environmental projects.
      • In cooperation with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the EPA took action against 15 companies statewide for the alleged sale and distribution of unregistered pesticides or pesticides with inaccurate labels -- collecting fines totaling more than $1 million for the violations.