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Altex faces over $134,000 in fines for Clean Air Act and Emergency Planning violations in Alaska

Release Date: 03/27/2006
Contact Information: Contact: Kelly Huynh, (206) 553-1679, huynh.kelly@epa.gov Suzanne Powers, (360) 753-9475, powers.suzanne@epa.gov Tony Brown, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

(Anchorage, AK. - Mar. 27, 2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a complaint against Altex Distributing, Inc. (Altex) in which the agency seeks a penalty for Clean Air Act and emergency planning violations. Altex is a supplier of chlorine and sulfur dioxide. The alleged violations, filed on Friday, March 24, 2006, include a failure to have a Risk Management Program (RMP) for hazardous chemicals, which is required by the Federal Clean Air Act (CAA). EPA seeks a penalty in the amount of $67,286 under the CAA.

EPA also alleges that Altex failed to file Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Forms with emergency responders for its storage of the hazardous substances chlorine and sulfur dioxide at levels above threshold planning quantities, as required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). EPA seeks an EPCRA penalty in the amount of $67,104.

The total combined RMP and EPCRA penalty sought against Altex is $134,390.

The Federal Clean Air Act, Section 112(r), requires the development of RMPs and submittal of Risk Management Plans for all public and private facilities that manufacture, process, use, store, or otherwise handle greater than a threshold amount of a regulated substances(s). Some of the toxic and flammable chemicals covered by the program are ammonia, chlorine, propane, sulfur dioxide and formaldehyde.

"Altex was operating without a Risk Management Program and without submitting inventories to the state, local emergency management or the fire department,” said Kelly Huynh, EPA's RMP Coordinator. "The program and requirements were put in place to protect public health and the environment from accidental chemical releases."

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act is the federal law designed to both inform citizens about toxic chemicals in their communities, and protect public health and environment from toxic chemical releases by assuring that responders and planners are informed of their locations.

The RMP requires such elements as development of an emergency response strategy, evaluation of a worst case and more probable case chemical release, operator training, review of the hazards associated with using toxic or flammable substances, operating procedures and equipment maintenance. Risk Management Plans are essentially checklists that highlight the elements of the program. These plans are often used by emergency responders and planners in protecting the public from accidental chemical releases.



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