Environmental compliance is in the news every day. Which kind of publicity would you prefer for your business?
The following company received one of the EPA Environmental Quality Awards in 2009.
Toyota Motor Sales/Ryan McMullan
The associates of Toyota Motor Sales in Torrance, Calif. have focused their efforts on eliminating waste. Through these efforts, Toyota’s vehicle distribution centers send less than four ounces of waste to the landfill for each vehicle processed, and its parts operations saved 17.6 million pounds of wood and cardboard in 2008. This work has had regional and national impacts — with the company’s headquarters and nine facilities achieving zero waste to landfill, ten plants achieving 95 percent waste reduction, and 12 distribution centers achieving over 90 percent recycling rates. These efforts have saved more than 110,000 trees and conserved the equivalent of 1.6 million gallons of gas through recycling materials. Ryan McMullan, an Environmental Resource Specialist with Toyota Motor Sales in Torrance, has led Toyota’s efforts to eliminate waste. He is a key regional environmental leader who has played a critical role in Toyota’s efforts to improve the environment, set aggressive goals, and educate the public and others in the business community.
Last week this company was fined for environmental violations. It was one of many over the last year.
Usibelli Coal Mine, near Healy, Alaska, agrees to pay $60,000 EPA penalty for Clean Water Act violations
According to documents associated with the case, the Mine had 11 unpermitted discharges into the Nenana River, Hoseanna Creek, Sanderson Creek, and Francis Creek between April 2007 and July 2010. During that time, they also had 10 violations of their discharge permit limits.
According to Edward Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Regional Office of Compliance and Enforcement, mining responsibly means paying attention and looking ahead to prevent future problems.
“Many of these discharges could have been minimized or avoided,” said EPA’s Kowalski. “By simply using and maintaining best management practices, we believe this penalty could have been avoided. Mining responsibly means making water quality protection a top priority.”
Sanderson Creek, Hoseanna Creek, Francis Creek, and nearby gravel ponds are all classified by the State of Alaska as suitable for use as water supply, water recreation, and growth and propagation of fish, shellfish, other aquatic life, and wildlife.
Usibelli has 30 days from the signature date to pay the fine and settle the case.
Noncompliance is usually more likely to receive publicity than compliance. Staying environmentally compliant may not get you publicity, but lack of publicity is better than bad publicity. If you don’t know the environmental rules that govern your business, hiring an environmental consultant is the best and most cost effective way to avoid bad publicity. Don’t wait till you’re in the bad news section of the paper to ask for help!