EPA waives $345,105 in penalties for seven companies which voluntarily disclosed violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is waiving a potential $345,105 in penalties against seven companies - six in Pennsylvania and one in Virginia — after they voluntarily reported and rectified their own environmental violations, the agency's mid-Atlantic office announced today.

PHILADELPHIA, Pa., June 7, 2001 — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is waiving a potential $345,105 in penalties against seven companies - six in Pennsylvania and one in Virginia — after they voluntarily reported and rectified their own environmental violations, the agency's mid-Atlantic office announced today.

Acting under policies that reward companies for voluntarily reporting their own environmental violations, EPA is waiving $345,105 in total penalties against the following companies: Armstrong World Industries, Lancaster, Pa.; Cabot Corp., Boyertown, Pa.; Encor Coatings, Inc., Montgomeryville, Pa.; Pyramid Industries II, Inc., Erie, Pa.; Shenandoah's Pride LLC, Springfield, Va.; SinterMet LLC, Kittanning, Pa.; and Southco, Inc., Concordville, Pa.

EPA's audit policy substantially reduces, and often eliminates, penalties for violations discovered and corrected by a company. The policy does not cover criminal violations, or violations resulting in significant harm to public health or the environment.

Six cases involved alleged violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) - the federal law requiring companies to file annual reports of releases of toxic chemicals. EPCRA requires companies that manufacture, process or use more than a threshold amount of regulated chemicals to report both routine and accidental releases of these chemicals.

In the Cabot Corp. case, the company reported that for 37 days between September 1999 and February 2000, it had failed to properly monitor and record the operations of an air pollution control device, as required by the Clean Air Act permit for the company's research and development pilot plant in Boyertown.

In their own environmental compliance audits, the companies discovered failures to file required reports on various chemicals used or stored at their facilities. Note: The EPCRA violations involved in today's announcement involved non-compliance with reporting requirements, and not unlawful releases of toxic chemicals.

According to Acting Regional Administrator Thomas C. Voltaggio, EPA regularly collects substantial penalties for violations similar to those reported by these companies. "As shown by these penalty waivers, companies can protect the environment and their own bottom lines by closely monitoring their regulatory compliance, promptly reporting and correcting violations, and acting to prevent future problems," Voltaggio said.

Voltaggio noted that if EPA had uncovered the EPCRA violations involved in today's announcement - either through investigations or from information provided by other sources - the companies would have faced potential penalties totaling $345,105, as follows: Armstrong World Industries ($163,000), Cabot Corp. ($44,550), Encor Coatings Inc. ($8,565), Pyramid Industries II, Inc. ($15,090), Shenandoah's Pride LLC ($40,800), and Southco., Inc. ($73,100). (EPA determined that a penalty against SinterMet was not required under the EPCRA enforcement policies.)

As of December 2000, 35 companies in EPA's mid-Atlantic region have disclosed environmental violations at over 140 facilities. EPA's regional office has reduced or waived nearly $3 million in penalties under the audit policy.

EPA's audit policy is posted at www.epa.gov/oeca/auditpol.html. For more information on environmental audits and compliance assistance, visit www.epa.gov/reg3ecej.

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