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Notice

Clean Water Act Class II: Proposed Administrative Settlement, Penalty Assessment and Opportunity To Comment Regarding Comcast Corporation

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

EPA has entered into a consent agreement with Comcast Corporation (“Comcast”) to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), Clean Air Act (“CAA”), and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (“EPCRA”) and their implementing regulations.

The Administrator, as required by CWA section 311(b)(6)(C), 33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(6)(C), is hereby providing public notice of, and an opportunity for interested persons to comment on, this consent agreement and proposed final order. EPA is also providing public notice of, and opportunity for interested parties to comment on, the CAA and EPCRA portions of this consent agreement.

Comcast failed to prepare Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (“SPCC”) plans for fifteen facilities where they stored diesel oil in above ground tanks. EPA, as authorized by CWA section 311(b)(6), 33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(6), has assessed a civil penalty for these violations. Comcast failed to obtain the appropriate operating permits or exemptions at fifty facilities in violation of CAA section 110, 42 U.S.C. 7410, and various state implementation plan (“SIP”) requirements for emergency generators. EPA, as authorized by CAA section 113(d)(1), 42 U.S.C. 7413(d)(1), has assessed a civil penalty for these violations. Start Printed Page 65956

Comcast failed to file an emergency planning notification with the State Emergency Response Commission (“SERC”) and to provide the name of an emergency contact to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (“LEPC”). Comcast failed to submit Material Safety Data Sheets (“MSDS”) or a list of chemicals to the LEPC, the SERC, and the fire department with jurisdiction over each facility for one hundred and six facilities in violation of EPCRA section 311, 42 U.S.C. 11021. At eighty-three facilities, Comcast failed to submit an Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory form to the LEPC, the SERC, and the fire department with jurisdiction over each facility in violation of EPCRA section 312, 42 U.S.C. 11022. EPA, as authorized by EPCRA section 325, 42 U.S.C. 11045, has assessed a civil penalty for these violations.

DATES:

Comments are due on or before January 22, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Mail written comments to the Enforcement & Compliance Docket and Information Center (2201A), Docket Number EC-2001-005, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Mail Code 2201A, Washington, DC 20460. (Comments may be submitted on disk in WordPerfect 8.0 or earlier versions.) Written comments may be delivered in person to: Enforcement and Compliance Docket Information Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Rm. 4033, Ariel Rios Bldg., 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC. Submit comments electronically to docket.oeca@epa.gov. Electronic comments may be filed online at many Federal Depository Libraries.

The consent agreement, the proposed final order, and public comments, if any, may be reviewed at the Enforcement and Compliance Docket Information Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Rm. 4033, Ariel Rios Bldg., 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC. Persons interested in reviewing these materials must make arrangements in advance by calling the docket clerk at 202-564-2614. A reasonable fee may be charged by EPA for copying docket materials.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Beth Cavalier, Multimedia Enforcement Division (2248-A), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone (202) 564-3271; fax: (202) 564-9001; e-mail: cavalier.beth@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Copies: Electronic copies of this document are available from the EPA Home Page under the link “Laws and Regulations” at the Federal Register—Environmental Documents entry (http://www.epa.gov/​fedrgstr).

I. Background

Comcast Corporation, a telecommunications company incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and located at 1201 Market Street, Suite 2201, Wilmington, Delaware 19801, disclosed, pursuant to the EPA “Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosures, Correction and Prevention of Violations' (“Audit Policy”), 65 FR 19618 (April 11, 2000), that they failed to prepare SPCC plans for fifteen facilities where they stored diesel oil in above ground storage tanks, in violation of the CWA section 311(b)(3) and 40 CFR Part 112. Comcast disclosed that for fifty facilities they had failed to obtain operating permits or exemptions in violation of CAA section 110, 42 U.S.C. 7410, and various SIP requirements for emergency generators. Comcast disclosed that at seventy facilities they had failed to file emergency planning notifications with the SERC and failed to provide the name of an emergency contact to the LEPC, in violation of EPCRA sections 302-303, 42 U.S.C. 7413(a)(1). Comcast further disclosed that at one hundred and six facilities they had failed to submit MSDS” or a list of chemicals to the LEPC, SERC, and the fire departments with jurisdiction over the facilities, in violation of EPCRA section 311, 42 U.S.C. 11021; and that at eighty-three facilities had failed to submit an Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory for to the LEPC, SERC, and fire departments with jurisdiction over the facilities, in violation of EPCRA section 312, 42 U.S.C. 11022.

EPA determined that Comcast met the criteria set out in the Audit Policy for a 100% waiver of the gravity component of the penalty. As a result, EPA waived the gravity based penalty ($1,215,724) and proposed a settlement penalty amount of sixty-four thousand, six hundred and three dollars ($64,603). This is the amount of the economic benefit gained by Comcast, attributable to their delayed compliance with the SPCC, CAA and EPCRA regulations. Comcast Corporation has agreed to pay this amount. EPA and Comcast negotiated and signed an administrative consent agreement, following the Consolidated Rules of Practice, 40 CFR 22.13(b), on December 7, 2001 (In Re:Comcast Corporation Docket Nos. CWA-HQ-2001-6002, EPCRA-HQ-2001-6002, CAA-HQ-2001-6002). This consent agreement is subject to public notice and comment under CWA section 311(b)(6), 33 U.S.C. section 1321(b)(6). EPA is expanding this opportunity for public comment to all other aspects of this consent agreement.

Under CWA section 311(b)(6)(A), 33 U.S.C. 1321 (b)(6)(A), any owner, operator, or person in charge of a vessel, onshore facility, or offshore facility from which oil is discharged in violation of the CWA section 311 (b)(3), 33 U.S.C. 1321 (b)(3), or who fails or refuses to comply with any regulations that have been issued under CWA section 311 (j), 33 U.S.C. 1321(j), may be assessed an administrative civil penalty of up to $137,500 by EPA. Class II proceedings under CWA section 311(b)(6) are conducted in accordance with 40 CFR part 22.

Under CAA section 113(d), the Administrator may issue an administrative order assessing a civil penalty against any person who has violated an applicable implementation plan or any other requirement of the Act, including any rule, order, waiver, permit or plan. Proceedings under CAA section 113(d) are conducted in accordance with 40 CFR part 22.

Under EPCRA section 325, the Administrator may issue an administrative order assessing a civil penalty against any person who has violated applicable emergency planning or right to know requirements, or any other requirement of the Act. Proceedings under EPCRA section 325 are conducted in accordance with 40 CFR part 22.

The procedures by which the public may comment on a proposed Class II penalty order, or participate in a Clean Water Act Class II penalty proceeding, are set forth in 40 CFR 22.45. The deadline for submitting public comment on this proposed final order is January 22, 2002. All comments will be transferred to the Environmental Appeals Board (“EAB”) of EPA for consideration. The powers and duties of the EAB are outlined in 40 CFR 22.4(a).

Pursuant to CWA section 311(b)(6)(C), EPA will not issue an order in this proceeding prior to the close of the public comment period.

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List of Subjects

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Dated: December 12, 2001.

David A. Nielsen,

Director, Multimedia Enforcement Division, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

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[FR Doc. 01-31491 Filed 12-20-01; 8:45 am]

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