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Release Date: 12/07/1999
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON -- As part of a larger initiative to control hazardous pollutants released by the metal industry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a $257,162 penalty against a firearms manufacturer in North Haven, Conn., for failing to meet federal environmental standards regarding chromium emissions. This enforcement action is part of a larger effort by EPA-New England to bring metal finishers into compliance with environmental laws.

According to an administrative complaint filed last week, Marlin Firearms Co. exceeded chromium emissions limits at levels five times the legal standard in February 1998 and failed to meet testing, work practice and record-keeping requirements for its chromium electroplating tank. The size of the fine reflects the fact that the emissions were significantly higher than the legal standard.

In negotiating the final penalty amount, EPA will consider the company's ability to pay the proposed penalties and corporate resources.

EPA conducted an inspection in January of Marlin's facility after receiving a test report provided by the company showing excess chromium emissions.

The company has since shut down its chromium electroplating operations and now contracts with a local electroplating company to perform this function. Chromium, a known carcinogen and air pollutant, is designated a "hazardous air pollutant" under the Clean Air Act. Marlin uses chromium in the finishing process of manufacturing guns.

"Because the metal industry uses many hazardous pollutants regulated by federal environmental laws, EPA has focused its technical assistance and enforcement programs on metal finishers" said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England Administrator. "Companies that cooperate receive guidance and support from EPA. But those companies, like Marlin, whose violations threaten the public health and environment face aggressive efforts from EPA, which is as it should be."

The complaint against Marlin is part of a larger effort by EPA to offer assistance to companies that clean or finish metal and to educate them on relevant environmental regulations.

Much of the work with the metal industry is being done through EPA's Metal Finishing Strategic Goals Program, a three-year-old program that is encouraging metal finishers to meet aggressive pollution reduction goals by the year 2002. The national program was launched in partnership with industry groups, environmental groups and state and local regulators.

Companies that sign up for the program receive compliance and pollution prevention assistance. And, as companies work toward meeting the goals, they'll be rewarded with more flexible regulatory oversight from EPA and state environmental regulators. More information on federal regulations and how to prevent pollution is available by calling Linda Darveau in the Office of Assistance and Pollution Prevention at 1-617-918-1718.

EPA efforts to control pollution by the metal industry stems in part from regulations enacted in 1995 to regulate emissions of chromium, trichloroethylene and other toxic chemicals.