The Environmental Protection Agency has fined Crowley Fuels of Alaska more than $1.3 million for violations related to several gasoline bulk fuel storage tanks in Palmer and Southeast Alaska.
The federal regulator announced on Thursday that it estimates that in Juneau alone, some 110,000 pounds of excess gasoline vapors escaped from a tank farm in 2018.
Other storage tanks in Palmer, Ketchikan and a gas station in Douglas also lacked proper vapor controls to prevent fumes from leaking into the atmosphere.
EPA regional spokesman Bill Dunbar in Seattle says the fuel company faced more than $5 million in fines under the Clean Air Act and other statutes. It also failed to follow reporting requirements.
“We found that it was in a significant enough quantity that we needed to assess the significant penalty,” Dunbar told CoastAlaska. “Then at the same time, they disclosed that they had not adequately informed the local community of the presence of what we call hazardous air pollutants. Nor had they disclosed when releases had occurred.”
The EPA and Florida-based fuel company ultimately settled for $1,337,365 last month due to the potential risks to public health.
“Benzene is a carcinogen,” Dunbar said. “But there are any number of constituents, volatile organic compounds that are in gasoline and in petroleum products that are dangerous to people.”
In a statement to CoastAlaska, a Crowley Fuels spokesman says the company has taken steps to resolve the situation its fuel tanks.
“While the EPA action results from our misinterpretation of certain regulations, we have taken action to remedy those issues and continue operating in an environmentally safe manner,” wrote Crowley spokesman David DeCamp on Thursday.
The signed 31-page consent agreement can be read here.
Last year, the EPA fined Crowley’s competitor Delta Western $400,000 over emissions violations at its tank farm in Juneau.