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Notice

Clean Water Act Class II: Proposed Administrative Settlement, Penalty Assessment and Opportunity To Comment Regarding Comcast Cable Communications, L.L.C.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has entered into a Consent Agreement with Comcast Cable Communications, L.L.C. (Comcast or Respondent) to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and their implementing regulations.

The Administrator is hereby providing public notice of this Consent Agreement and proposed Final Order (CAFO), and providing an opportunity for interested persons to comment on the CWA and EPCRA portions of the CAFO, pursuant to CWA Section 311(b)(6)(C), 33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(6)(C). Upon closure of the public comment period, the CAFO and any public comments will be forwarded to the Agency's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB).

DATES:

Comments are due on or before September 10, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OECA-2015-0540, by one of the following methods:

  • www.regulations.gov: Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Email: docket.oeca@epa.gov, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OECA-2015-0540.
  • Fax: (202) 566-9744, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OECA-2015-0540.
  • Mail: Enforcement and Compliance Docket Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OECA-2015-0540.
  • Hand Delivery: Enforcement and Compliance Docket Information Center in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room B 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC. The EPA Docket Center Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the Enforcement and Compliance Docket is (202) 566-1927. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OECA-2015-0540. The EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means the EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to the EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, the EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If the EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, the EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about the EPA's public docket, visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/​epahome/​dockets.htm.

Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, (e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute). Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically at www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Enforcement and Compliance Docket Information Center in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room B 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC. The EPA Docket Center Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the Enforcement and Compliance Docket is (202) 566-1927.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Beth Cavalier, Special Litigation and Projects Division (2248-A), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone: (202) 564-3271; fax: (202) 564-0010; email: Cavalier.Beth@epa.gov.

Background

This proposed settlement agreement is the result of voluntary disclosures of CWA and EPCRA violations by Comcast to the EPA. Comcast is among the largest providers of cable services in the United States, offering a variety of entertainment, information, and communications solutions to residential and commercial customers, and is located at 1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19103, and incorporated in Delaware. The Comcast facilities that underwent audits included engineering facilities, customer service centers, field technician fulfillment offices, call centers, warehouses and administrative offices.

On August 11, 2014, the EPA and Respondent entered into a corporate audit agreement pursuant to the Agency's policy on Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction and Prevention of Violations (Audit Policy), 65 FR 19618 (Apr. 11, Start Printed Page 481002000), in which Respondent agreed to conduct a systematic, documented, and objective review of its compliance with applicable provisions of the CWA and EPCRA. Respondent agreed to submit a final audit report detailing the specific facilities assessed, information setting forth violations discovered, and corrective actions taken. Respondent ultimately audited a total of 286 facilities, and as agreed upon with the EPA, Respondent submitted a final audit report to the EPA on January 5, 2015. All violations discovered and disclosed by the Respondent are listed in Attachments A and B to the CAFO.

Proposed Settlement

The EPA determined that Respondent satisfactorily completed its audit and has met all conditions set forth in the Audit Policy. Comcast has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $28,782 for the violations identified in Attachments A and B. This figure is the calculated economic benefit of noncompliance based on information provided by Respondent and use of the Economic Benefit (BEN) computer model. Of this amount $22,393 is attributable to CWA violations, and $6,389 is attributable to EPCRA violations.

The EPA and Respondent negotiated the Consent Agreement in accordance with the Consolidated Rules of Practice, 40 CFR part 22, specifically 40 CFR 22.13(b) and 22.18(b) (In re: Comcast Cable Communications, L.L.C.; enforcement settlement identifier numbers CWA-HQ-2015-8001 and EPCRA-HQ-2015-8001). This Consent Agreement is subject to public notice and comment under Section 311(b)(6)(C) of the CWA, 33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(6)(C). The procedures by which the public may comment on a proposed CWA Class II penalty order, or participate in a Class II penalty proceeding, are set forth in 40 CFR 22.45. The deadline for submitting public comment on this proposed Final Order is September 10, 2015. All comments will be transferred to the EAB for consideration. The EAB's powers and duties are outlined in 40 CFR 22.4(a).

Disclosed and Corrected Violations

CWA

Respondent disclosed that it failed to prepare and implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan in violation of CWA Section 311(j), 33 U.S.C. 1321(j), and the implementing regulations found at 40 CFR part 112, at 10 facilities located in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee, identified in Attachment B.

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 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 $177,500 by the EPA. Class II proceedings under CWA Section 311(b)(6), 33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(6), are conducted in accordance with 40 CFR part 22. As authorized by CWA Section 311(b)(6), 33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(6), the EPA has assessed a civil penalty for these violations.

Pursuant to CWA Section 311(b)(6)(C), 33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(6)(C), the EPA will not issue an order in this proceeding prior to the close of the public comment period.

EPCRA

Respondent disclosed that it violated EPCRA Section 302(c), 42 U.S.C. 11002(c), and the implementing regulations found at 40 CFR part 355, at six facilities listed in Attachment A when it failed to notify the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and/or the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) that these facilities are subject to the requirements of Section 302(c) of EPCRA. These facilities are located in Alabama, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Respondent disclosed that it violated EPCRA Section 311(a), 42 U.S.C. 11021(a), and the implementing regulations found at 40 CFR part 370, at 22 facilities listed in Attachment A when it failed to submit a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for hazardous chemicals and/or extremely hazardous substances or, in the alternative, a list of such chemicals, to the LEPCs, SERCs, and the fire departments with jurisdiction over these facilities. These facilities are located in Alabama, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Respondent disclosed that it violated EPCRA Section 312(a), 42 U.S.C. 11022(a), and the implementing regulations found at 40 CFR part 370, at 26 facilities listed in Attachment A when it failed to prepare and submit emergency and chemical inventory forms to the LEPCs, SERCs, and the fire departments with jurisdiction over these facilities. These facilities are located in Alabama, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Under EPCRA Section 325, 42 U.S.C. 11045, 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 EPCRA. Proceedings under EPCRA Section 325, 42 U.S.C. 11045, are conducted in accordance with 40 CFR part 22. The EPA, as authorized by EPCRA Section 325, 42 U.S.C. 11045, has assessed a civil penalty for these violations.

List of Subjects

Environmental protection.

Start Signature

Dated: August 4, 2015.

Andrew R. Stewart,

Acting Director, Special Litigation and Projects Division, Office of Civil Enforcement, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

End Signature End Further Info End Preamble

[FR Doc. 2015-19725 Filed 8-10-15; 8:45 am]

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