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EPA Waives $250,536 Penalty After Company Self-Discloses Chemical Reporting Violations Self Auditing Saves Seven Mid-Atlantic Companies $547,000 in Penalties
Release Date: 3/21/2001
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113
Donna Heron, 215-814-5113
PHILADELPHIA -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is waiving a potential $250,536 penalty against Cerro Metal Products, Inc. after the company self-disclosed chemical reporting violations at its plant in Bellefonte, Pa.
Acting under an EPA policy that encourages companies to audit their own environmental compliance, the agency’s mid-Atlantic office today announced that it is waiving $547,150 in total penalties against Cerro Metal Products and six other companies in Pennsylvania and Virginia after they disclosed violations uncovered by internal audits of compliance.
“EPA wants to reward responsible corporate citizens who make good-faith efforts to protect the environment. Companies can reduce or eliminate penalties by monitoring their own environmental compliance, promptly disclosing and correcting violations, and acting to prevent future problems,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Thomas Voltaggio.
Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, companies that manufacture, process or use more than a threshold amount of regulated chemicals must file annual reports of both routine and accidental releases of these chemicals. The reporting requirements are designed to provide reliable information on toxic and hazardous chemicals to citizens and to environmental and emergency response officials.
EPA became concerned about widespread non-compliance with the law’s reporting requirements for toxic nitrate compounds such as sodium nitrate. Last year, the agency allowed companies which may have inadvertently failed to report past releases of nitrate compounds to pay a relatively small penalty for prior violations if they would commit to a rigorous self-audit of their compliance with chemical reporting requirements.
Settling companies were also required to promptly correct and inform EPA about any newly discovered reporting violations. The penalty was set at $5,000 for companies with 100 or more employees and $1,000 for companies with less than 100 employees.
Under this program, Cerro Metal Products paid a $5,000 penalty and performed the self-audit, which uncovered failures to report releases of zinc compounds, copper compounds, and nickel in 1995 through 1999. The company promptly filed the required reports and certified that it is now in compliance with applicable regulations.
For more information on EPA’s audit policies and other environmental compliance matters, call the EPA Business Assistance Center at 800-228-8711 or check out EPA’s web site at www.epa.gov/reg3ecej/audits.htm.
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