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GUAM POWER AUTHORITY TO PAY $170,000 TO SETTLE POLLUTION CHARGES
Release Date: 10/23/1998
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578 or Lily Lee, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1592
(San Francisco) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice today announced that the Guam Power Authority (GPA) has agreed to pay a penalty of $170,000 and spend at least $800,000 on reducing air pollution from GPA's electric power plant, to settle allegations that GPA's facilities in the Cabras-Piti area of Guam polluted the air with excess levels of sulfur dioxide. The agreement was in a consent decree lodged today with the U.S. District Court for the Territory of Guam.
"We commend GPA for its willingness to cut pollution by installing equipment to automate fuel-switching at Cabras-Piti. This will greatly reduce the exposure of people in the Cabras-Piti area to unhealthful levels of sulfur dioxide," said David P. Howekamp, director of U.S. EPA's western regional air division office in San Francisco.
U.S. EPA in 1993 granted GPA a waiver from certain requirements of the Clean Air Act, which allowed GPA to avoid expensive compliance options while keeping Guam's air clean enough to meet national health standards for sulfur dioxide. The waiver requires GPA to switch fuels from high-sulfur fuel oil to more expensive low-sulfur fuel oil whenever wind conditions blow GPA's air emissions towards the island rather than out over the open ocean. The waiver also required GPA to file reports with U.S. EPA documenting GPA's compliance with the fuel switching requirements.
U.S. EPA alleged that GPA violated the conditions of the waiver by failing to switch fuels during some adverse wind conditions, and by failing to submit the required reports in a timely manner. By violating the conditions of the waiver, GPA may have caused sulfur dioxide to reach unhealthy levels at times in the Cabras-Piti area. Health impacts from sulfur dioxide can potentially be serious, particularly on children, the elderly, and persons suffering from asthma.
Under the terms of the settlement, GPA will spend at least $800,000 to install new equipment at the Cabras-Piti electric generating station that will automatically and more efficiently switch electric generating units to low-sulfur fuel oil during adverse wind conditions, which in turn will reduce the exposure of people in the Cabras-Piti area to emissions of sulfur dioxide.
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