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Simplot Settles Emergency Notification Case

Release Date: 2/20/2002
Contact Information: Bill Dunbar
(206) 553-1203

February 20, 2002
Simplot to buy $50K in emergency equipment for locals, pay $14,000 penalty

The Northwest regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the J.R. Simplot Company has agreed to buy equipment and pay penalties related to a release of 80,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide from a facility in Pocatello.

On March 13, 2001, Simplot’s Don plant in Pocatello, Idaho, released more than 80,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide, an extremely hazardous substance. Sulfur dioxide irritates lungs, eyes and the nose, and can trigger severe asthma attacks. Short-term exposures to high levels of sulfur dioxide can be life-threatening.

The company violated the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) when it failed to immediately notify the Power and Bannock Counties’ Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) or the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) of the release.
The company finally notified the SERC 12 hours after the release and did not notify the counties until the next day.

As part of its settlement with the EPA, Simplot will provide $25,457 worth of hazardous materials response equipment to Power County Disaster Services and will spend no less than $25,017 to provide Bannock County Emergency Operations Center with communications equipment and the Pocatello Fire Department with hazardous materials response equipment.

In addition, Simplot will pay a penalty of $14,175.