EPA Penalizes Blender Over Pollution Reports

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Lubricant producer Champion Brands LLC was slapped with a $130,243 fee by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to release annual reports regarding pollution at its facility.

“The company failed to submit required annual reports listing releases of toxic chemicals at the company’s facility in Clinton, Missouri,” the EPA said in a Feb. 22 news release.

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“Communities, particularly those that are already overburdened by pollution, have a right to know about toxic chemicals in their area,” Wendy Lubbe, acting director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division, said in the news release.

“Specifically, the company failed to timely submit reports for certain glycol ethers in 2016, 2017 and 2018; diethanolamine in 2017; and toluene in 2017,” the EPA said.

“We have worked cooperatively with the EPA to address an administrative error, which we promptly corrected,” the company said in a statement to Lube Report. “Our Clinton, Missouri, facility continues to operate safely, and we remain committed to safely serving our communities and our people.”

Glycol ethers and toluene are used in the production of brake fluids and tire and paint sealants. Diethanolamine is a corrosion inhibitor used in metalworking fluids.

At its Clinton blending plant, Champion Brands produces motor oils, brake and transmission fluids along with other automotive lubricants and car care products.

“Failure to report such data also prevents governments and industry from using this important information for research, and in the development of regulations, guidelines and air quality standards,” Lubbe said.

The EPA said its review of Champion Brands’ records showed that the company manufactured, processed or otherwise used quantities of toxic chemicals above thresholds that require the company to submit annual reports to the EPA.

The EPA said it had investigated the Champion Brands facility “due in large part to its location within an economically disadvantaged community and to strengthen enforcement in such communities to address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of industrial operations on vulnerable populations.”

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires facilities to report on the storage, use and releases of hazardous substances. The submitted information is compiled in the Toxics Release Inventory, which supports informed decision-making by companies, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the public, the EPA said.