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EPA enforcement in Oklahoma continues to cut pollution

Release Date: 12/04/2008
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

Polluters agree to spend $11.8 billion on environmental controls and cleanup nationwide

(Dallas, Texas – December 4, 2008) More than $11.8 billion in environmental improvements were secured and an estimated four billion pounds of pollution will be prevented as a result of enforcement actions by the Environmental Protection Agency this year. Both figures represent record highs for the agency.

Results for cases with facilities in Oklahoma brought more than 49 million pounds of pollution reductions, nearly $43 million in penalties and environmental improvements, and 274 concluded enforcement actions.

“Enforcement is a vital part of EPA’s commitment to protecting the environment and public health,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “As a result of these efforts, communities throughout Oklahoma will benefit from less pollution and more investments by industry to better control pollutants. I commend the work of our staff and environmental partners on a job well done.”

EPA’s enforcement numbers were released today by its Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance as part of its fiscal year 2008 accomplishments report. The report outlines some of the agency’s notable achievements in the areas of civil and criminal enforcement, compliance assistance, public health, environmental justice and international cooperation.

A total of $565 million in environmental improvements, 437 million pounds in pollution reductions and two billion pounds of treated or disposed hazardous waste were realized across the region comprising Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Among the agency’s enforcement achievements involving facilities in Oklahoma is the national settlement against Sinclair Oil Corporation. Under the agreement, Sinclair will pay a $2.45 million civil penalty and spend more than $72 million for new and upgraded pollution controls to reduce air pollution from its three refineries -- one located in Tulsa and two in Wyoming. In addition, the company will spend $150,000 on supplemental environmental projects in Oklahoma, including $100,000 to install new controls to reduce emissions of particulate matter from the City of Tulsa’s fleet of municipal trash trucks.

Approximately 1,100 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions and 4,600 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions will be reduced when new pollution controls required under the settlement are fully implemented. The new controls also will result in additional reductions of volatile organic compounds and particulate matter from each of the refineries.

Oklahoma was also a part of the national Home Depot settlement. Under this settlement, the company agreed to pay a $1.3 million penalty and implement a nationwide compliance program to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act at more than 30 construction sites in 28 states, including a site in Lawton, Oklahoma, where a new Home Depot store was being built.  The settlement requires that Home Depot implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide program to prevent storm water pollution at each new store it builds nationwide by developing improved pollution prevention plans for each site, increasing site inspections, and promptly correcting any problems at its sites.

In addition to enforcement actions, EPA provided help to more than 12,421 regional businesses and individuals in understanding and complying with environmental responsibilities during the past year.

The EPA enforcement program is a vital tool in ensuring compliance with the nation’s environmental laws and inspiring businesses, governments and others to focus on pollution prevention. Additional information on the 2008 enforcement and compliance results is available at http://www.epa.gov/earth1r6/6en/08-axns.htm.

To learn more about activities in EPA Region 6, please visit http://www.epa.gov/region6.

An EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/audio.htm#audio120408_eoy_ok.

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