Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results:
FY2007 Cross-Media Case Highlights
FY2007 Annual Results Topics
Many enforcement cases address environmental harm across air, water and land. Combining enforcement of all media results in a more effective overall management of a facility's or a company's environmental liabilities and is generally more cost-effective than bringing two or more independent media-specific actions.
Criminal Enforcement Cases
Federal Facilities Enforcement Cases
Federal Bureau of Prisons, Lewisburg., PA
The Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and Prison Industries (UNICOR) signed an agreement with EPA for violations of the Clean Air Act and RCRA at its Lewisburg, Pennsylvania facility. At the time of the inspection, UNICOR, which has operations at a number of federal prisons around the country, was manufacturing metal lockers at the prison. UNICOR goods are sold to the federal government. The facility violated RCRA requirements by improperly storing hazardous waste and failing to maintain proper records. Clean Air Act violations included operating a paint booth without a permit, and failing to register refridgerant recovery equipment. The BOP will pay a $38,000 penalty.
Veterans Administration Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA
EPA and the Veterans Administration signed an agreement to address VA violations of the CAA and RCRA. The VA constructed a boiler without a permit and burned bunker fuel (No. 6 fuel oil) in the boiler. The settlement requires the VA to pay a $136,000 penalty, procure a permit for the boiler and burn less-polluting fuel, No. 2 fuel oil. This change is estimated to reduce emissions of nitrous oxide by 350,000 pounds per year and sulfur dioxide by 360,000 pounds per year.
EPA’s Enforcement Program continues to address the illegal importation of noncompliant goods into the United States by bringing enforcement actions against importers and others; providing compliance assistance to manufacturers, importers and brokers; and working with other governments, agencies and stakeholders to prevent and reduce risks of unsafe products entering our country. [More Information]
The following are major cases was concluded in fiscal year 2007:
Clean Air Act Enforcement
In the last few years, there has been a surge in the number of imported motor vehicles, motor vehicle engines, and non-road equipment – such as tractors, lawn mowers, generators and other small engines. A large portion of the imported engines are not certified to meet EPA certification standards under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Uncertified engines can emit excessively high levels of air pollutants, in some cases nearly double EPA standards. This is of concern because roughly half the air pollution in the United States is cause by on-road and off-road mobile sources, thereby increasing the risk of respiratory illness and other adverse effects. In Fiscal Year 2007, 85 enforcement actions – more than double that of the previous two years combined – were taken by EPA and Customs to stop engines and equipment that did not comply with the CAA from entering the United States.
Consistent with the CAA and EPA’s international obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances, EPA has both civil and criminal authorities for taking action against substances that harm human health and the environment by depleting ozone in the upper atmosphere. EPA’s enforcement authorities include taking actions against persons who continue to sell and distribute banned ozone depleting substances.
In 2005-2006, based on tips from domestic novelty businesses and Customs officials, EPA learned about and acted on imported aerosol confetti string products containing banned substances as propellants. (The banned substances were cheaper than legal alternatives.) Following EPA’s 2006 action ordering five national retailers to pull millions of banned products from their shelves and destroy them properly, additional administrative enforcement orders were issued to national retailers in 2007 and investigations are on going for other imports of illegal CFCs.
Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Enforcement
Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Enforcement brought enforcement actions related to import safety under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in fiscal year 2007. Except under certain limited circumstances (for example, for research purposes), it is illegal to sell or distribute pesticides that have not been reviewed and registered for use by EPA or that are not in compliance with the terms of their EPA registrations.
Illegal pesticide imports include a wide range of products, such as naphthalene mothballs and related products (moth tablets, clothes hangers and urinal cakes), chlorine pool disinfectants, insecticidal chalk, roach killers, mosquito coils and rat poisons. Some cases have involved the use of highly toxic pesticides (registered for agricultural use only) in homes, where children are particularly at risk.
EPA stepped up pesticide import inspections at border crossings and other ports of entry, and conducted sweeps and educational campaigns in urban neighborhoods that are at high risk for using illegal imports. Noncompliant imports, when identified prior to or at the time of arrival, are denied entry at the border or port, further ensuring that these dangerous products do not get into our homes.
Products that do not meet EPA regulations that have managed to elude detection at arrival but are subsequently discovered in the market place can be placed under a Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order (SSURO) until disposed of; returned to the country of origin or brought into compliance. Penalties may also be assessed against importers of such products. For example, under the Agency’s Children’s Health Initiative, EPA Region 2 works with state agency partners to target two major urban areas each year, and these efforts resulted in more than $221,000 in assessed penalties in fiscal year 2007.
Also in Fiscal year 2007, EPA enforcement actions resulting in penalties of more than $350,000 were issued for import violations against eleven companies involving unregistered and/or misbranded pesticide products ranging from mothball products to antibacterial wipes, various disinfectants/germicides, and herbicides. These cases included penalty actions against: Fourquarters Wholesale ($143,000); Triunfo-Mex, Inc. ($84,500); Concord Enterprises ($59,000); Valent USA Corporation ($27,300); Dos Amigos Distributors, Inc. ($10,400); Winston Company, Inc. ($6,500); Trpy Corporation ($5,580); Karabetian Import & Export ($4,680); Jotun Paints ($3,900); Pacific Genuity, Inc. ($3,120); and Aldis Manufacturing LTD ($3,120). SSUROs were also issued against Valent USA Corporation and Jotun Paints.
Toxic Substances Control Act Enforcement
Using Customs and Border Protection (CBP) information on imports, nine companies were targeted and inspected for possible Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) importation violations in Fiscal year 2007. Of the nine, four inspections have lead to enforcement actions and the other five are still in review. Three of the four enforcement actions have led to penalty settlements exceeding $79,000 during Fiscal year2007, including cases against National Plastics, Inc. In Kansas, Arkema in Texas and Oxid, LP in Texas. The companies violated TSCA’s Inventory Update Rule, which requires current knowledge of where and in what quantity specific toxic chemical substances are manufactured and/or imported.
Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs)
Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) are environmentally beneficial actions that a violator agrees to perform as part of an enforcement settlement. SEPs go beyond compliance and provide significant benefits to public health and the environment. EPA enforcement settlements concluded in fiscal year 2007 include 184 cases requiring violators to implement SEPs with a value of over $ 30 million. The following four settlements are examples of fiscal year 2007 cases that include SEPs with substantial environmental or public health benefits. [More Information]
Brighton Country Club/Top Construction Corps
The developer will pay a penalty of $9,000 and take part in an environmental project valued at $7,000 to conserve and help manage Las Cucharillas Marsh.
New York Department of Sanitation
New York Department of Sanitation will plant 420 trees in five boroughs to create “urban forests”. Careful selection of trees for an urban forest will lead to reduction in air pollutants and reduction of “heat island” effects, both of which contribute to global warming. The supplemental environmental project will cost the Department $610,000.
Preservation of Las Cucharillas Marsh
Las Cucharillas Marsh is located at the intersection of the municipalities of Cataño, Guaynabo and Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and covers approximately 1,236 acres, consisting mostly of wetlands, mangrove forests and open waters. The marsh serves as a flood plain and acts as a sediment and nutrient filter for runoff waters before they reach the San Juan Bay. In fiscal year 2007 EPA’s Region 2 negotiated several settlements that included SEPs relating to the preservation of this important ecosystem.
Renaissance Management Company – TSCA 1018
Renaissance Management Company will perform a large supplement environmental project involving lead abatement projects in 111 units in New Haven Connecticut, including the replacement of windows and doors, enclosure or encapsulation of interior and exterior surfaces which include windows, doors, siding, porch and stair components, and removal or covering of lead contaminated soil. The project will cost Renaissance $342,000. The Respondent will have clearance inspections performed to ensure that work was completed properly. Abatement and control of lead-based paint hazards provides important health benefits, especially for children.
Vistas De Guarbo
The developer will also expend at least $45,000 to undertake important data collection in Catano in preparation for engineering studies to help protect Las Cucharillas Marsh and the San Juan Bay Estuary.
Wal Mart of Puerto Rico
This supplemental environmental project, which will cost $97,000, provides for the preservation of land in the area of Las Cucharillas Marsh, part of the San Juan Bay Estuary Watershed. The parcel will be perpetually maintained as an environmentally protected area through deed restrictions and legal agreements.
Criminal enforcement covers all the media (air, water, land) and major environmental statutes plus full Title 18 (U.S. Criminal Code) authority that is often associated with environmental crimes, such as conspiracy, false statements, mail and wire fraud, racketeering, and obstruction of justice. Sometimes, the environmental crimes investigated by EPA’s criminal enforcement program will be associated with violations of the U.S. Criminal code. The final decisions regarding the specific counts to which a defendant is charged or plead guilty are made by the Department of Justice.
The following are major cases concluded in fiscal year 2007:
David Fredericy, Joseph Kuzlik
David Fredericy was sentenced to serve 33 months in federal prison, and Joseph Kuzlik was sentenced to 27 months in prison for conspiring to commit and for committing hate crimes targeting African-American residents of Cleveland, and for making false statements to federal investigators. Among other acts, the defendants placed toxic mercury on the porch of a family with children for the purpose of intimidating them because they were an interracial family. In order to keep their unlawful actions secret, both Fredericy and Kuzlik lied to federal EPA investigators who were initially charged with cleaning up the mercury and investigating the incident. Fredericy and Kuzlik were also each ordered to pay $13,351 in restitution to the U.S. EPA and the Ohio EPA for the cost of the cleanup. [More Information (PDF)], (pp 2, 254K, About PDF)
Evans Labor Camp
Ronald Robert Evans, Sr. was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted by a jury on charges of drug and contraband trafficking; violating the Clean Water Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Farm Worker Protection Act (two counts); and structuring cash transactions to avoid financial reporting requirements (50 counts); and witness tampering. Evans, along with five other co-defendants, was convicted after a 10 day trial. [More Information (PDF)], (pp 5, 137K, About PDF)
Timothy Boisture, a former partner in an environmental clean-up firm, was sentenced to a five-year term of imprisonment following his conviction by a federal jury on mail fraud charges. Boisture’s firm was hired in 1999 by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to properly close abandoned and leaking oil and injection wells in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, which had contaminated a pond and a tributary of the Ohio River. Boisture fraudulently charged the State of Indiana for nonexistent equipment and services. He shared the money with an Indiana Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas inspector assigned to inspect the plugging operation and certify that the work was done correctly. The inspector, the firm that Boisture used as a subcontractor, and an employee of the subcontracting firm were also prosecuted. [More Information]
Wally K. El-Beck
He was convicted by jury a on 37 counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. According to the indictment, El-Beck leased an Industrial Waste Incinerator from the City of Osceola, Arkansas, to incinerate medical and industrial waste. El-Beck represented to customers through Certificates of Destruction that their waste was being incinerated when in fact, he was accumulating the waste in warehouses. Over 13,000 drums were discovered by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. Over 4 million dollars has been spent thus far from the EPA Superfund to clean-up the site in addition to more than one million dollars spent by the victim companies who had paid El-Beck to incinerate their waste. Sentencing has not occurred by the end of Fiscal year 2007. [More Information (PDF)], (pp 2, 107K, About PDF)