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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed fining three New England companies for violating federal Clean Water Act requirements to prevent and contain oil spills.
Specifically, EPA alleges that the following oil storage facilities had failed to adequately prepare and maintain “Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure” (SPCC) plans and/or Facility Response Plans (FRPs): DDLC Energy of New London, Conn.; Taylor Energy of Broad Brook, Conn; and Northeast Products Co. Inc. of Fall River, Mass.
Oil storage facilities subject to the FRP rules must prepare and implement spill response plans for worst-case discharges from their facilities, which can be upwards of tens of millions of gallons of oil.
Each facility could be subject to penalties of up to $157,500. In addition, to avoid the potential for significant environmental harm, each company must take steps to bring the facilities into immediate compliance with the federal spill prevention and response planning requirements, if they haven’t done so already.
Every year, thousands of gallons of oil are spilled from large and small oil storage facilities and result in pollution of New England waters. SPCC plans and FRPs are critical to ensuring that such spills are prevented and, if they do occur, adequately addressed.
Federal law requires that facilities that have the potential for spills, like these companies, take every step possible to prevent, before they occur, oil discharges to the nation’s rivers, lakes and oceans through implementation of SPCC plans. Any facility with more than 1,320 gallons of aboveground oil storage capacity and meeting certain other criteria must develop and implement SPCC plans to prevent and contain spills, such as by installing impervious secondary containment around storage tanks and transfer areas.
To ensure that a facility can adequately response to a spill, it must have adequate employee training, spill response equipment, and a contingency plan for containing and cleaning up a release.
Oil Spill Prevention in New England: (epa.gov/ne/topics/emergencies/oilspills.html)