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February 18, 2021

The owner of the vessel Kota Harum, Pacific International Lines (Private) Limited, and employees Maung Maung Soe and Peng Luo Hai, pleaded guilty to charges under the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and Clean Water Act related to the vessel's unlawful discharge of oily bilge water into Apra Harbor, Guam, and the failure to maintain complete and truthful oil record books.  The company will pay a $3 million criminal penalty and defendants are on probation.  DOJ

February 9, 2021

American Zinc Recycling Corp. agreed to pay penalties of $3.3 million to the federal government and State of Pennsylvania and undertake $4.3 million in specified physical and operational changes at its Palmerton recycling facility to reduce lead dust exposure and resolve claims that the company violated a 1995 Consent Decree applicable to the facility, as well as its operating permit and environmental laws including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Emergency Preparedness and Community Right-to-Know Act. EPA

February 3, 2021

In a settlement valued at $4.1 million, Schnitzer Steel Industries will pay penalties and costs, undertake supplemental environmental projects, and make significant improvements to its processes to resolve claims that it violated environmental laws at its Oakland, California metal shredding and recycling facility, including through the release of particulate matter contaminated with hazardous metals such as lead, cadmium, and zinc.  CA

January 29, 2021

Medical waste processing company Stericycle Inc. will pay $600,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the Clean Air Act and state regulations at its medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake, Utah, by operating the facility in a manner that generated nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions that exceeded regulatory limits, as well as failing to properly conduct stack tests and comply with reporting requirements.  In addition to the civil monetary penalty, Stericycle will undertake a Supplemental Environmental Project and spend at least $2 million to purchase 20 low-emitting school buses for a local school district. DOJ

January 19, 2021

Portable fuel container manufacturer Midwest Can Company will pay a $1.7 million fine to resolve claims that its products failed to meet regulatory standards, resulting in the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  The company was alleged to have concealed test results showing the failure to meet regulatory standards when it applied for a certificate of conformity from the EPA.  DOJ; USAO ND IL

January 19, 2021

U.S. Magnesium will pay a civil penalty of $250,000 and undertake at least $37 million in modifications and upgrades to its Rowley, Utah facility to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste generated at the facility, treat all wastewater, and prevent leaks from the facility to the Great Salt Lake.  EPA

January 14, 2021

Toyota Motor Company and its affiliates have agreed to pay a $180 million penalty and undertake compliance efforts to resolve civil claims of violations of the Clean Air Act.  In a consent judgment, Toyota admitted that between 2005 and 2015, it failed to timely submit required reports regarding defects in emissions control systems and recalls to repair emissions systems defects, and failed to even implement systems designed to determine whether such reports were required, despite objections from Toyota staff.  As a result, Toyota avoided disclosure of emission systems defects.  DOJ

December 21, 2020

Government contractor Schneider Electric Buildings Americas Inc. will pay a total of $11 million to resolve criminal and civil claims that it overcharged the government on eight separate energy savings performance contracts under which the company was to install energy upgrades including solar panels, LED lighting, and insulation, in federal buildings.  The company admitted to wrongdoing including the disguising of unauthorized design costs by charging them to unrelated contract components and the receipt of kickbacks from subcontractors on the ESPCs. $9.3 million of the settlement resolves civil liability under the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Act; $1.7 million is denominated as criminal forfeiture.  DOJ

December 17, 2020

Retailer Home Depot U.S.A. Inc., which hires contractors to perform home renovations for Home Depot customers across the country, will pay $20.75 million as a penalty under the Toxic Substances Control Act to resolve allegations that the company failed to ensure that those contractors took adhered to lead paint safety requirements.  In addition to the penalty, Home Depot agreed in a consent decree to implement a compliance program to ensure that the firms and contractors it hires to perform work are certified and trained to use lead-safe work practices to avoid spreading lead dust and paint chips during home renovation activities.  DOJ

December 1, 2020

Singapore-based international shipping company Pacific Carriers Limited (PCL) was ordered to pay a fine of $12 million following its guilty plea to charges including its violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.  PCL admitted that its ship the M/V Pac Antares discharged oily bilge water, oil waste, oily garbage, and plastic, without using required pollution-prevention equipment or properly recording the discharges in the vessel’s oil record book or garbage record book.  Some oily waste discharges were made through a laundry sink which discharged directly overboard, and inspectors discovered a configuration of drums, flexible hoses and flanges that were used to bypass the vessel’s oily water separator.  In addition, PCL admitted that the ship stored oily waste in the duct keel in a manner that created a hazardous condition subject to reporting.  The problems were reported to Customs and Border Protection by a crewmember who walked off the ship when it arrived in North Carolina.  DOJ
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