EPA Region 5 recently settled a case with BP Exploration & Oil Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio, for violating federal laws on the reporting of hazardous chemicals. The company will pay a $115,002 fine.
EPA''s administrative complaint alleged that BP Exploration & Oil either did not submit, or submitted late, Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory forms for numerous Ohio facilities for 1994, 1995 and 1996.
The forms must be submitted to the Ohio Emergency Response Commission, local emergency planning committees and local fire departments to notify them about hazardous chemicals present at facilities in their communities.
Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, owners and operators of facilities must submit forms for certain hazardous chemicals every year by March 1.
Chemicals stored at the Ohio facilities varied from site to site, but all of the facilities stored gasoline and diesel fuel.
"EPA is pleased to see BP Exploration & Oil step forward to resolve these chemical reporting problems," said William Muno, regional Superfund director. "Reporting requirements are designed to protect public safety and the environment. Significantly, this complaint involved numerous Ohio communities that were potentially at risk."
The reporting violations originated with two 1996 self-disclosures by BP Exploration & Oil concerning 68 bulk plants.
Violations were also found under two other environmental statutes, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Clean Water Act.
Since 1989, EPA Region 5 has filed 222 complaints for hazardous chemical reporting violations, resulting in 209 settlements worth $4.98 million in total fines and $3.4 million in environmental projects.
by Virginia Sutcliffe