A plastics company will pay $2.85 million in civil penalties to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at its petrochemical manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas, federal environmental protection officials said.
Formosa Plastics Corporation, Texas, also agreed improve its risk management program to resolve the alleged violations of the Chemical Accident Prevention Provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA) brought by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The complaint, filed with a proposed consent decree, alleges 20 violations of the CAA. Formosa’s Point Comfort plant is subject to Section 112(r) of the CAA regulations, known as the Risk Management Program, which are designed to prevent the accidental release of hazardous substances.
The EPA’s investigation of Formosa was spurred by a series of fires, explosions and accidental releases at the Point Comfort plant spanning from May 2013 through October 2016. These accidents caused injuries to workers, including second- and third-degree burns and chlorine inhalation requiring hospitalization, as well as property damage and the release of extremely hazardous substances to the environment.
“Formosa’s failure to implement safe work practices and failure to design and maintain a safe facility put public health and the environment at risk,” Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance said in a media release.
Formosa will be required to update its response and personal protection plans to prevent employee injury, conduct a third-party audit of its risk management practices, perform corrective actions based on audit results and develop key performance indicators to evaluate future compliance.
In addition, the company agreed to conduct a service compatibility evaluation to identify incompatible equipment and implement a mechanical integrity reporting program.
The cost of the injunctive relief is estimated to be at least $1.4 million and will greatly improve the safe management of hazardous substances at the facility, the EPA said.
The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court review and approval. A copy of the consent decree is available on the Department of Justice website at www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.
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