Two Idaho companies settled with the Feds in separate cases of violations of the federal Clean Air Act Risk Management Program.
The settlements include a $83,497 penalty for Pacific Ethanol Magic Valley, LLC and a $101,000 penalty for Land View, Inc., said officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The federal Clean Air Act (sec. 112r) requires all public and private facilities that manufacture, process, use, store or otherwise handle flammable gases and toxic chemicals develop Risk Management Plans (RMPs).
Facility’s RMPs can then see use from local emergency planners and responders to protect the public from accidental releases of toxic gases like chlorine, propane, sulfur dioxide and formaldehyde.
“Risk management planning saves lives,” said Kelly McFadden, manager of EPA’s Pesticides and Toxics Unit in Seattle. “EPA is committed to protecting workers and communities by reducing the likelihood of accidental chemical releases, creating a level playing field for industry and protecting people’s health and the environment.”
The following facilities have settled with EPA and have corrected their violations:
Pacific Ethanol Magic Valley, LLC: On May 18, 2011, EPA conducted an inspection of Pacific Ethanol Magic Valley, LLC (Pacific Ethanol), a corn-based ethanol production facility located in Burley, Idaho. Pacific Ethanol utilizes more than 20,000 pounds of ammonia (20 percent concentration or greater) and more than 10,000 pounds of pentane at their facility. EPA’s inspection found several violations of the risk management plan regulations. Penalty: $83,497.
Land View, Inc.: On May 19, 2011, EPA inspected Land View Inc., an agricultural chemical manufacturing facility located in Rupert, Idaho. Land View utilizes more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia and more than 20,000 pounds of ammonia (20 percent concentration or greater) on site. The EPA inspector found several violations of the risk management plan regulations. Penalty: $101,000.
The Risk Management Program requires companies to create an emergency response strategy, evaluate a worst case and probable case chemical release, and develop and implement a prevention program. The prevention program must include operator training, a review of the hazards associated with using toxic or flammable substances, proper operating procedures and equipment maintenance.
The classic case of not having a risk management program was the incident in West, Texas, on April 17, 2013 when a fertilizer plant exploded and leveled homes and killed 15 people and injured 262.
Officials determined the 12 firefighters who died battling the West Fertilizer Co. blaze were not ready for the ferocity of the fire and should have focused on evacuating the area rather than extinguishing the flames.
The line-of-duty report from the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office examined the deaths of a dozen first responders and concluded the West volunteer fire department attacked a fire at the plant “that was significantly beyond the extinguishment stage” using small hose lines and a limited water supply.
The primary focus should have been evacuation not engaging the fire, one agency said.