Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results FY2008:
FY2008 Annual Results Topics
Federal facilities must comply with environmental laws and regulations just like everyone else. In FY 2008, EPA enforcement actions resulted in impressive federal agency commitments and improvements in environmental compliance, preventive measures, and clean up work:
- EPA’s actions will prevent more than 1.7 million pounds of pollutants from being released into the environment from federal facilities.
- Cleanups at federal facilities will address more than 110 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and groundwater
- EPA assessed $1.4 million in penalties from federal facilities.
- Federal facilities committed to spending more than $23 million to improve their facilities and operations to remedy past violations and prevent future violations.
UST Enforcement at Federal Facilities
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 contained important new requirements concerning underground storage tanks (USTs) operated by federal agencies. In 2006, EPA launched a strategy specifically focused on improving federal facility compliance with UST requirements. Coordinating among EPA headquarters offices, regional enforcement offices and EPA’s state counterparts, EPA has been inspecting and taking enforcement actions at federal facilities found in violation of UST requirements.
In FY 2008, EPA took 36 formal enforcement actions against a variety of federal facilities nationwide for UST violations. EPA collected over $400,000 in penalties. Common violations included not having tank release detection and tank piping.
EPA issued a complaint and is prosecuting a case against the Puerto Rico National Guard and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service located at Camp Santiago, Salinas Puerto Rico for UST violations. The complaint sought a civil penalty of $209,264 for alleged multiple violations of UST requirements.
The U.S. Air Force, New Jersey National Guard and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service entered into a settlement with EPA resolving violations of UST requirements at the McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. The agreement required payment of $115,000 in penalties and the installation of proper equipment to detect corrosion and leaks and to protect against overfilling. It also requires improved annual testing and record-keeping at the 20 UST systems used to store fuels for vehicles at the base.
Over a dozen federal facilities in the Washington, DC area were required to pay $170,000 in penalties due to violations of UST requirements. One of the facilities, the Postal Service’s Capital Heights, Maryland vehicle maintenance facility, failed to install equipment that would prevent spilling and overfilling when material was transferred to the UST system. The Postal Service paid a $16,624 penalty.
U.S. Coast Guard Officer Pleads Guilty for Lying about Polluting
A former Chief Warrant Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Hawaii for making a false statement to federal criminal agents investigating allegations of potential discharges of oil-contaminated waste from his Coast Guard cutter. The officer was sentenced to pay a $5,000 fine, serve 200 hours of community service and serve two years of probation. In the indictment, the officer was cited for lying to federal criminal investigators about his knowledge of an illegal discharge of bilge wastes through the ship’s deep sink into Honolulu Harbor. The government’s investigation was conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division and was prosecuted by the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Hawaii.
FedCenter Grows to Serve Federal Facilities
FedCenter is the federal government’s environmental stewardship and compliance assistance center. It is jointly managed by EPA and twelve other federal agencies. In 2008, those agencies acknowledged its value by contributing more half of its annual operating costs.
FedCenter responds quickly to the needs of federal agencies. When a new law required federal agencies to report the compliance status of every one of their underground storage tanks, FedCenter created a reporting function used by fifteen agencies. Fourteen agencies use FedCenter to report their progress implementing environmental management systems which feeds into their agency’s annual environmental scorecard issued by OMB.
FedCenter has grown tremendously since opening in late 2004. In 2008 it had over 250,000 visitors--a 37% increase from 2007. One user commented “in almost 25 years of federal service, I think your site is the best tool I have used…it’s an outstanding Web site.”