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EPA enforcement actions in Arizona reduce nearly 18 million pounds of pollution / Agency announces environmental enforcement accomplishments for 2008

Release Date: 12/05/2008
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415.947.4149, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 enforcement cases in Arizona included major actions protecting the state’s water, air and land resources.

Two significant enforcement actions in Arizona involved a power plant, the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District’s Coronado generating station, and a Scottsdale-based land developer, George H. Johnson, his companies, and land-clearing contractor, 3-F Contracting, Inc. These two actions, upon approval, will yield $2.2 million in civil penalties.

“EPA enforcement actions in the state of Arizona will result in a reduction of nearly 18 million pounds of pollution and the clean up of more than 1 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and water,” said Wayne Nastri, the EPA’s administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “In addition, over $420 million will be invested in pollution control and environmental cleanups by 2014.”

The Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District (SRP) agreed to install state-of-the-art air pollution controls at an estimated cost of $400 million, pay a $950,000 civil penalty and spend $4 million on environmental improvement projects in Arizona to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at its Coronado coal-fired power plant near St. Johns.

Scottsdale-based developer George H. Johnson, his companies Johnson International, Inc. and General Hunt Properties, Inc. and land-clearing contractor 3-F Contracting, Inc. paid a combined $1.25 million civil penalty. The penalty is the largest obtained in the history of EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, and one of the largest in EPA’s history, under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which protects against the unauthorized filling of federally protected waterways through a permit program administered jointly by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Additional Arizona enforcement highlights for 2008 include:

Sun State of Tempe, settled dust violations at commercial construction sites in Maricopa County for the company’s failure to comply with Maricopa County rules during earth moving and dust generating operations at construction projects – one of the primary causes of particulate pollution in the Phoenix area. Sun State employees involved in dust-generating activities must complete dust-control training.
Lost Lake Resort, near Poston, was fined $55,000 for an underground storage tank leak that caused groundwater and soil contamination on the Colorado River Indian Tribes reservation – a violation of federal law. Lost Lake is now developing a clean-up plan to address the contamination.
Portable Practical Education Preparation, Inc., a company that holds charters for 12 Arizona charter schools, and 6 charter school operators were collectively fined $301,000 for violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act. The schools have since completed asbestos inspections or otherwise obtained the appropriate documentation to establish that no asbestos-containing material is present in their school buildings. All of the schools have developed asbestos management plans. Arizona Charter schools are public, state-funded schools constituted within the state of Arizona.

Nationally, the agency took civil and criminal enforcement actions requiring regulated entities to spend an estimated $11.8 billion on pollution controls, cleanup and environmental projects, a record for EPA.

Please go to http://www.epa.gov/region09/enforcement/results/08/index.html or a full description of the EPA’s enforcement cases throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands in 2008.

The report, U.S. EPA OECA Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Accomplishments Report: Protecting Public Health and the Environment, is available on-line at: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/reports/accomplishments/oeca/fy08accomplishment.pdf

For information on the EPA’s national enforcement summary for 2008, go to: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/reports/endofyear/eoy2008/fy2008.html

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