Ethanol company cited for risk management planning, chemical reporting violations
On March 7 the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wyoming Ethanol, LLC, located in Torrington, Wyo., will pay $49,000 in penalties to settle claims related to the facility’s Risk Management Program and chemical reporting requirements. The alleged violations are associated with the use of hazardous chemicals and the failure to appropriately report chemicals used on site in violation of federal right-to-know laws.
“Companies that use chemicals and substances which pose a potential danger are responsible for reporting those chemicals to the Toxic Release Inventory and having a robust risk management program in place,” said Mike Gaydosh, director of EPA’s enforcement program in Denver. “Failure to do so places the environment, employees, and the nearby community at risk. We are encouraged that Wyoming Ethanol has been cooperative in correcting the violations and coming into compliance.”
The agreement stems from an EPA inspection conducted during May 2012 which found deficiencies in the facility’s risk management plan required under the Clean Air Act. These plans ensure the proper management of toxic and/or flammable chemicals and to prevent and respond to releases of chemicals that may occur. Wyoming Ethanol’s Torrington facility is subject to the Risk Management Program regulations because it stores flammable or highly toxic chemicals above the regulatory threshold amount. By agreeing to the settlement, the company has certified that they are now in compliance.
Effective risk management plans help companies, industries, and municipalities operate responsibly, assists emergency responders by providing vital information necessary to address accidents and other incidents, protects the environment by preventing and minimizing damage from accidental releases, and keeps communities safer.
According to EPA’s Denver office, Wyoming Ethanol also failed to accurately file Toxic Chemical Release Inventory forms listing chemicals processed, manufactured, or used at its facility. These inventory forms are required by the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.
The failure of a facility to submit information to the TRI deprives the local community of its right to know about chemicals present in the area. EPA’s action is expected to encourage compliance with EPCRA reporting requirements and to ensure that the community has information about chemicals being processed, manufactured, or otherwise used in the area. The required information also helps inform health studies based on the TRI database and assists federal, state, and local authorities prevent pollution and plan for potential releases.