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EPA Violations are Not Worth the Risk

The Headlines Say It All…Again…

“Dow Chemical Agrees to Pay $2.5 Million to Resolve Air, Water and Waste Violations at it’s Midland, Michigan Complex”

“ Essroc to Pay $1.7 Million Penalty to Resolve Clean Air Act Violations”

Regarding Dow, It Reads Like Old News

“The EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice today announced that Dow Chemical Company has agreed to pay a $2.5 million civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act at  its chemical manufacturing and research complex in Midland, Mich.”

It’s nice to know that the EPA is doing it’s job; disheartening to know that Dow wasn’t doing what they should have been to stay in compliance. Despite the company’s cooperation to get their operations back on track and compliant, the ramifications in regards to loss of public trust and goodwill are not as quantifiable as the fiscal penalties.

Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call for other corporations that compliance and concern for our nation and environmental laws is paramount from a business perspective on many levels.

Scary Fines and Figures

As for Essroc, the $1.7 million penalty it had to pay is almost trivial contrasted with the $33 millions it cost to invest in reducing smog and asthma causing emissions, more than 7,000 pounds a year. Not to mention the $745,000 it will take to mitigate the effects of past violations from its facilities. And though the EPA’s commitment centers on stopping illegal air pollution from the largest sources of emissions, that doesn’t mean smaller companies are off the hook by any means.

The consequences beyond fines should have every firm concerned. Under the settlement, Essroc has to make extensive adaptations at five of its plants and demonstrate a successful “selective catalytic reduction system at two long wet kilns in its Logansport, Ind. Plant”. The upside? This will be a first and provide a model for long wet kilns worldwide.

However, the company will have to shutter an inoperable sixth plant to ensure that the facility does not reopen without proper permitting under the CAA. For smaller firms, sure, there are financial resources set aside for potential infractions, etc., but only the big firms seem to make the big headlines; how little we hear about the less than mightiest of them and the disruption—or termination—it can sometimes bring about.

There’s a Reason For Fines – Punch in the Numbers

It comes down to every individual employee, vendor, constituent, neighbor and living entity touched by wrongful environmental practices. As posted recently online by a former refinery worker, “OSHA and EPA fine companies for their employees not following basic safety rules and regulations…every single rule they created is there because someone managed to severely injure or kill themselves by not working safe.” Those employees range from the ones punching a time clock to those purchasing other companies.

Need someone to help make sure your company doesn’t have any EPA violations?  We deal with these issues every day.  Contact Us (859-689-9222) to get more information about how we can help your business.

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