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EPA fines Arizona mining company $80,000 for failing to report chemical releases

Release Date: 12/21/2004
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, (415) 947-4307

     SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently fined an Arizona mining company $80,000 for allegedly failing to report the correct amount of toxic chemicals released at its Hayden, Ariz. facility, a violation of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

    ASARCO Inc failed to submit complete and correct toxic chemical release inventory reporting forms for manganese released in 1998 and 1999 and for chromium, nickel compounds, cadmium compounds and lead compounds released in 1998.  The fine to be paid by ASARCO Inc. will resolve an administrative complaint that EPA Region 9 filed on Sept. 30, 2004.


     The violations were discovered as a result of an investigation by the National Enforcement Investigations Center, a division of the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.  The review was performed after the community expressed concern about the validity of the company's reported releases.

    "The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires accurate and timely reporting, and enforcing this regulation is a priority for the EPA," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA's Cross Media Division for the Pacific Southwest region. "When companies do not comply with these regulations, they have defeated one purpose of the act -- which is to inform the public about releases of toxic chemicals in their communities."


    Federal law requires certain facilities using chemicals over certain amounts to file annual reports of chemical releases with the EPA and the state. The reports estimate the amounts of each toxic chemical released to the environment, treated or recycled on-site, or transferred off-site for waste management. Information is then compiled into a national database and made available to the public.


     Each year the EPA publishes a report entitled the Toxic Release Inventory Public Data Release reports, which summarizes the prior year's submissions and provides trend analyses of toxic chemical releases.

    In an unrelated action the EPA recently conducted soil sampling in Hayden, Winkelman and Kearny at the request of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.  Preliminary results will be available in the spring.


    For more information on the program visit: http://www.epa.gov/tri. The U.S. EPA's environmental databases, including TRI data, can be accessed at: http://www.epa.gov/enviro.
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