Seafood processor, EPA settle on Alaska clean air violations
A Seattle-based seafood processing company operating in Alaska will be assessed a $1.3 million civil penalty for violating clean air rules under a proposed settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Alaska.
Westward Seafoods, owned by Maruha Nichiro Corp. of Japan, also would be required to pay $1.1 million for air pollution reduction projects and more than $800,000 for improved training and monitoring of emissions.
It’s the second civil penalty for the company in seven years. Westward Seafoods in 2010 signed a consent decree with EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice and paid a $570,000 penalty to resolve previous violations.
The new violations follow Westwards’ self-reporting that three employees turned off air pollution controls from 2009 to 2011 at the company’s plant at Dutch Harbor, a port on Unalaska, one of the Aleutian Islands. Dutch Harbor regularly leads the nation in seafood brought to shore by weight.
Edward Kowalski, EPA director of compliance and enforcement in Seattle, said the agency relies on self-monitoring. “The submission of falsified records undermines our ability to protect public health and the environment,” he said in an announcement.