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EPA Region 6 Enforcement Cuts Pollution by 163 Million Pounds

Release Date: 11/16/2005
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2005 resulted in pollution reductions of 163 million pounds, an EPA official announced in Dallas today.  This is a significant increase over last year.  Other annual measures of the region=s enforcement and compliance activity, such as the amount of penalties assessed and value of supplemental environmental projects, surpassed the pace of previous years, indicating continued progress in deterring violations of the nation=s environmental laws.

     EPA Region 6 Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division Director John Blevins said, "Region 6 believes in a consistent approach for managing the tools and resources available to us, to achieve cleaner air, cleaner water and healthier communities.  And of course, this is only possible with our strong partnership with state and local agencies, tribes, and the public."

     Among the environmental benefits resulting from agency actions during FY 2005, EPA estimates 54,260 cubic yards of contaminated soil and 376,283 cubic yards of contaminated water will be cleaned up across the region, 105 acres of wetlands will be protected, and the drinking water of more than 30,000 Americans will be safer.

FY 2005 Enforcement and Compliance Highlights    

 *    In Arkansas, EPA Region 6 issued a Cease and Desist Administrative Order to the City of Fort Smith, Arkansas, ordering them to stop automatic bypasses that allowed a direct discharge of untreated raw sewage into the Arkansas River.
 *    In Louisiana, EPA Region 6 partnered with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) to conduct a survey of ambient air quality in the Baton Rouge area.  The purpose of the survey was to augment the ever-growing number of stationary air monitors in the area, determine other potential sources of air pollution, and help focus future actions to reducing them.  EPA and LDEQ are closely coordinating with local leaders, community groups and area businesses on steps following the receipt of the survey report and its findings.

*   In New Mexico, a Clean Air Act settlement with Giant Industries' refineries near Gallup and Bloomfield utilized innovative approaches that resulted in major environmental benefits.  This administrative settlement, in cooperation with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), includes $250,000 in penalties, $600,000 in supplemental environmental projects and requires the two refineries to meet injunctive relief requirements.  The settlement will result in a significant reduction of emissions from units with the largest emissions, upgrade leak detection and repair practices, implement programs to minimize flaring, and adopt strategies to ensure the proper management of wastewater.  The settlement will also result in an anticipated annual emission reduction of more than 545 tons of nitrogen oxide, 1,570 tons of sulfur dioxide, 60 tons of particulate matter, 760 tons of carbon monoxide, and 35 tons of fugitive volatile organic compounds.
 *   In Oklahoma, Braum's Farm in Canadian and Grady counties had an unauthorized discharge of effluent into the South Canadian River which resulted in a large fish kill.  Braum paid a penalty of $30,000 and implemented supplemental environmental projects valued at over $48,000.  These projects included constructing a containment area that will help to reduce the possibility of spills or discharges from reaching the South Canadian River and installing monitoring and recovery wells along the South Canadian river to evaluate the groundwater below the former lagoon. If a problem is found, the recovery wells will be used to remove the impacted groundwater.

 *   In Texas, a consent global decree with Citgo Petroleum Corporation includes refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana, that together process almost 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil.  The agreement is expected to reduce air emissions by about 30,000 tons per year from Citgo refineries located in Lemont, Illinois; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Corpus Christi, Texas; Paulsboro, New Jersey; and Savannah, Georgia.  It requires Citgo to pay a $3.6 million civil penalty and includes a $5 million supplemental environmental project to further reduce nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions from the Corpus Christi refinery.

 *   Compliance assistance reaches more than 32,000 -- in Region 6, 32,019 businesses and individuals received assistance from EPA in FY 2005 to help understand and comply with environmental laws.
 *   EPA maintains a strong enforcement presence -- EPA Region 6 finalized 774 Administrative Compliance Orders, 547 Administrative Penalty Orders and 11 Civil Judicial conclusions in FY 2005.

 *   Facilities disclosing environmental violations - Forty-five facilities disclosed environmental violations to EPA.  

 *   Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) to benefit communities - EPA settled 56 cases with SEPs in FY 2005 at a total value of $8,161,812.  SEPs are environmentally beneficial projects that a violator voluntarily agrees to perform as part of an enforcement settlement, and secures significant environmental or public health protection improvements beyond those achieved by bringing the violator into compliance.

     More information on EPA's FY 2005 enforcement and compliance program, including details of significant enforcement and compliance assurance activities and data, are available at: