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EPA announces Nevada environmental enforcement accomplishments for 2007: Air quality cases highlight year

Release Date: 11/15/2007
Contact Information: Marc Mowrey, (415) 972-3324

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement efforts brought close to $180 million in environmental and public health benefits to Nevada communities this year, reducing over 10 million pounds of pollution.

The EPA, working with the state of Nevada, made enforcement of the Clean Air Act a top priority, taking legal action against two Las Vegas-area power plants for air emissions violations. The enforcement actions are expected to improve air quality by significantly reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides, or NOx, and particulate matter.

In its continued efforts to protect groundwater, the EPA, in coordination with the state, continued its enforcement at the Anaconda copper mine in Yerington, requiring a comprehensive investigation of radiological and heavy metal contamination at the site.

“Nevada residents will see improved long-term environmental benefits through our enforcement efforts,” said Wayne Nastri, administrator for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “We will continue to work with the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection to achieve results that protect public health and the environment.”

Nevada enforcement highlights for 2007 include:

    • Nevada Power Company: After lengthy investigations by the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, the EPA, the U.S. Department of Justice and NDEP reached a settlement of more than $150 million with Nevada Power Company requiring pollution controls. Additionally, Nevada Power paid nearly $1.5 million in penalties for violations at its Reid Gardner and Clark Station power plants near Las Vegas. The two settlements will achieve significant emission reductions. The Clark Station will reduce its NOx emissions by about 3,600 tons per year. The Reid Gardner Station will reduce NOx emission by 1,000 tons per year and particulate matter by 300 tons per year. The settlements also encourage energy conservation by requiring the utility to pay $4 million to the Clark County School District for energy conservation projects to be implemented over the next seven years and $400,000 to install solar panels on a non-profit agency building.
    • Anaconda Mine: The EPA ordered Atlantic Richfield Company to conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the Anaconda mine in Yerington, Nev. The investigation is expected to cost $18 million, and will provide comprehensive site information necessary to select and complete the final cleanup. Since 2005, the EPA has removed hazardous substances in several areas at this site.
    • Unregistered pesticides: Working with the state of Nevada, the EPA took five enforcement actions against companies selling the cancelled pesticides Chlorpyrifos and Diazinon in Nevada. The settlements total almost $300,000 in fines and include additional environmental projects. The products were voluntarily cancelled by registrants between 2001 and 2004 due to potential health risks to children, making it illegal to sell or distribute most residential use products containing these chemicals. The EPA targeted indoor and residential use Diazinon and Chlorpyrifos products being sold by Sav-on, as well as home and garden stores. Among the products illegally sold were: Ortho Dursban, Cooke Dursban-Plus Lawn Insecticide, Diazinon Ultra Insect Spray and Grant’s Kills Ants - Ant & Spider Killer.
Please go to http://www.epa.gov/region09/enforcement/results/ for a full description of the EPA’s enforcement cases throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands in 2007. For information on the EPA’s national enforcement summary for 2007, go to: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/data/results/annual/fy2007.html

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