Health, Safety and Environment

Company Settles Charges and Agrees to Install Pollution Controls

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Terra Industries (Terra) has agreed to pay US$625,000 to settle charges that it breached Clean Air Act provisions at nine of its plants. Additionally, the company has agreed to spend about US$17 million “to install and implement new controls and technologies that are expected to reduce harmful nitrogen oxide emissions at its facilities by at least 1,200 tons per year”. Terra allegedly built, modified and operated its plants without obtaining appropriate permits, and failed to install the best available technology to control air pollution, amongst other things.
DoJ’s media release (19 April 2011)
(Source: DoJ; US Government Printing Office)

Ship Owners Fined for Dumping Waste Overboard

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Stanships Inc (Marshall Islands), Stanships Inc (New York), Standard Shipping Inc and Calmore Maritime Ltd each pleaded guilty for breaching the Act to Prevent Pollution from ShipsPorts and Waterways Safety Act and for obstructing of justice, and have agreed to pay a US$1 million penalty. The four companies are prohibited from doing further business in the US for the next five years. The companies collectively own and operate a registered cargo vessel called M/V Americana, which was “illegally dumping sludge and oily waste overboard using a so-called ‘magic pipe’ to bypass required pollution prevention equipment” in 2010, as reported by a crew member. The defendants also admitted to creating a false “Oil Record Book” to cover up the illegal discharges, among other things.
DoJ’s media release (12 April 2011)
(Source: DoJ;;

Five Major Companies Pledge Reduced Fuel Consumption

Reuters reports that FedEx, UPS, AT&T, PepsiCo and Verizon have announced their commitment to reducing the consumption of diesel fuel and gasoline in their companies’ vehicles by more than 7 million gallons per year, by opting for 20,000 hybrid vehicles and energy efficient vehicles such as those that use biofuels, electric power and other advanced technologies. Reportedly, the companies collectively own and operate more than 275,000 vehicles, representing five of the US’ largest national fleets.
Reuters: FedEx, UPS, Pepsi Do a Clean Fleet Upgrade (4 April 2011)
(Source: Reuters)

Puma Pledges World-first EP&L Statement

Reuters reports that Puma has announced its move towards a world-first environmental profit and loss (EP&L) statement, which will attempt to “measure the full economic impact of the brand on ecosystem services” such as water and air filtration. Reportedly, the program is part of a larger sustainability initiative started by parent company PPR Group (PPR), whose other brands include Stella McCartney, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. The Group has reportedly offset “Scopes 1 & 2 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and purchased carbon credits from Wildlife Works’ REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) offsetting project in Kenya”, and is also launching “a Creative Sustainability Lab to help lead the industry and foster creativity, innovation and sustainability”.
Reuters: Puma Brand Moves Towards First-Ever Environmental Profit & Loss Statement (31 March 2011)
(Source: Reuters)

Manslaughter Charges Sought Against BP

Federal prosecutors investigating events prior to the BP oil spill might now pursue manslaughter charges against BP managers for choices they made leading up to the environmental disaster. Investigators are reviewing emails and other documents of BP leaders, including former CEO Tony Hayward, and trying to determine if they provide sufficient evidence to contradict what the leaders testified to during congressional hearings held last year regarding the oil spill in the Gulf. The prosecutors are also investigating BP managers who worked on the oil rig and assessing whether or not the decisions they made prior to the oil spill represented a knowing sacrifice of safety in favor of time and money. The Justice Department first opened an investigation into BP last June and filed a civil suit against the company last December.
Bloomberg: BP Is Said to Face U.S. Review for Manslaughter Charges (29 March 2011)
(Source: Bloomberg)