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Seafood Company Skirts Clean Air Act, Pays $1.3M in Civil Penalties

Westward Seafoods will pay a civil penalty of $1.3 million for skirting the Clean Air Act by turning off air pollution controls from 2009 to 2011; Westward will also be required to spend $1.1 million on air pollution reduction projects, to use new electronic systems for monitoring, record-keeping and reporting, to properly train personnel for compliance, and to implement a more robust preventative maintenance and operations plan, according to the EPA.

Westward Seafood had been submitting falsified records to the EPA and the state of Alaska for its Captain’s Bay seafood processing plant in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where three employees had turned off air pollution controls from 2009 to 2011 and created false records to hide their actions.

Westward Seafoods came forward to the EPA and to the state of Alaska with information about the company’s air permit violations after the company discovered the employees’ actions. The settlement resolves the company’s civil liability for all of the Clean Air Act violations.

The director of the office of compliance and enforcement in the EPA’s Seattle office says the settlement requires significant third party independent oversight of Westward Seafoods’ operations to monitor and verify the use of required pollution controls.

EPA enforcement actions secured $13.7 billion from companies during fiscal year 2016, according to the agency’s annual enforcement results. This is up from fiscal year 2015, when enforcement actions cost companies about $7 billion.

The agency says its enforcement actions also secured:

  • more than $1 billion in commitments from responsible parties to clean up Superfund sites.
  • $6 billion in combined federal administrative, civil judicial penalties and criminal fines; and
  • $31.6 million for supplemental environmental projects.
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