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EPA fines Arizona propane distribution company $15,649 for failing to report hazardous chemical inventory

Release Date: 6/30/2004
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today fined a Globe, Ariz. company $15,679 for failing to report to the appropriate local, state and federal authorities the amount of propane its facility was storing from 2000 through 2003.

Propane distributor Matlock Gas and Equipment Company stored 143,000 pounds of the extremely hazardous chemical, and failed to file annual inventory reports with the state emergency response commission, the local emergency planning committee and the local fire department. Federal emergency planning and right-to-know laws require companies to report amounts of propane when they exceed 10,000 pounds.

The company will pay $3,249 and spend $12,400 on emergency response equipment for the Canyon Volunteer Fire Department.

"This facility is near a residential area and has a responsibility to provide prompt and accurate information about the chemicals it is storing," said Keith Takata, the EPA = s Superfund Division director for the Pacific Southwest. "This new equipment will help the Canyon Volunteer Fire Department better respond to emergencies and protect the community in the event of a chemical release."

The EPA discovered the violations through routine surveillance of facilities in the area and in coordination with the Arizona State Emergency Response Commission.

Propane is classified by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration as a hazardous chemical. It is extremely flammable and can cause asphyxiation in an enclosed area. Exposure to propane may cause eye irritation, skin frostbite and affect the nervous system.

Federal law requires that owners or operators of regulated facilities annually submit by March 1 a complete hazardous chemical inventory to the local and state emergency response commission and to the local fire department when the amount exceeds a specific quantity.