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FMC Corp. Settles Under-reporting Complaint

Release Date: 12/1/1997
Contact Information: Christina Colt
colt.christina@epamail.epa.gov
(206) 553-4016 or (800) 424-4372


December 1, 1997 - - - - - - - - - - 97-72


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FMC Corporation has agreed to pay $209,600 in civil penalties to settle a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency complaint that the company's phosphorous plant in Pocatello, Idaho, under-reported the quantities of wastes it released into the environment in violation of federal public right-to-know law.

Announcement of the settlement was made today by Chuck Clarke, EPA's Northwest regional administrator in Seattle.

Clarke said the complaint alleged that FMC failed to report to EPA -- under the federal Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) -- more than five million pounds per year of materials disposed of in surface impoundments at the Pocatello plant in 1993, 1994 and 1995. The missing data for 1995, when added to amounts already reported by FMC, brought to 7,496,955 pounds the total of all FMC releases to the environment, an amount that ranked No. 1 in Idaho.

"The TRI is one of the most powerful tools in the country for environmental protection," Clarke said. "The inventory allows the public to learn about chemical releases in their communities by providing information that citizens need and want to know.”

The federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), Section 313, requires more than 20,000 facilities in the nation to report annually to EPA on the total amount of chemicals released into the air, into water or on land -- either accidentally or as result of routine plant operations -- or transported as waste to another location. The reports are compiled by EPA and published annually in the national TRI.

The TRI is compiled from data submitted each summer from businesses reporting their releases from the previous calendar year. Information on releases from 1996 was submitted to EPA late this past summer, and won't be published in state-by state compilations until the next national TRI is published next spring. The most recent TRI covers releases for 1995.

TRI data is based on reports on the manufacture, use or processing of any of 654 chemicals and chemical categories. In the case of FMC, the company filed reports in 1995 on releases of materials in a dozen categories. By weight, more than half the material was zinc compounds, about a third was phosphorous and the remainder were a variety of metals and metallic compounds consisting of cadmium, selenium, chromium, barium, nickel, antimony, manganese, and copper.

Reports for the TRI have been required since 1987. For the first few years, FMC submitted information on the wastes it released to the surface impoundments at the Pocatello phosphorous plant. FMC discontinued reporting the surface impoundment figures in the wake of a court decision in the early 1990's involving reporting responsibilities under the federal Superfund law. FMC told EPA it interpreted the decision as relieving FMC from its reporting obligations under EPCRA.

EPA maintained that the decision had no bearing on the EPCRA reporting requirement. The purpose of the Superfund law was to vest EPA with the ability take appropriate response action, while the purpose of EPCRA was to satisfy the public’s right to know.

Below is the list of the Idaho's top facilities for total releases in 1995. The list is taken from the 1995 Toxic Release Inventory, and has been updated to reflect the complete data from FMC. All quantities are expressed in pounds.


Idaho
Ranking
Corporation
Pounds of
Chemicals Released
1
FMC/Pocatello
7,496,955
2
Potlatch/Lewiston
1,851,510
3
Amalgamated Sugar, Paul
1,052,455
4
Amalgamated Sugar, Nampa
799,300
5
Avonmore West, Gooding
674,258
6
Ore-Ida Foods/Burley
554,317
7
Avonmore West, Richfield
492,061
8
Woodgrain Millwork, Fruitland
466,608
9
Amalgamated Sugar, Twin Falls
461,819
10
J. R. Simplot, Caldwell
261,503
11
J. R. Simplot, Pocatello
170,860
Nationally, according to the 1995 data, the FMC phosphorus plant in Pocatello ranked No. 35 among all 20,000 facilities across the country in terms of total releases.

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