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In re Federal Cartridge Co.

12/06/2002

ELR Citation:33 ELR 47827

An administrative law judge (ALJ) grants in part and denies in party the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency's (EPA's) motion for accelerated decision as to a company's liability for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in connection with its munitions manufacturing facility. EPA charged, and the company admitted, that it failed to provide a required soil sample analysis, failed to meet certain groundwater requirements, failed to conduct an evaluation of two drums of scrap ammunition to determine whether it was hazardous, and failed to report all solid waste management units in violation of its permit. Thus, the ALJ holds the company liable for these violations. The ALJ next denies EPA's motion with regard to its complaint that the company engaged in the unpermitted treatment of hazardous waste. EPA alleged that in firing ammunition at its gunnery range for testing purposes, the company shredded the shotshell wad waste, thereby reducing its volume and “treating” the hazardous waste within the meaning of RCRA. An evidentiary hearing is necessary to resolve this issue. As to EPA's claim that the company accumulated a hazardous waste material at its facility for more than 90 days in violation state law and its permit, the ALJ grants EPA's motion only with regard to two 55-gallon drums of scrap ammunition. Material issues of fact exist as to the other drums EPA cited in its complaint. Similarly, the facility admitted to some of the violations EPA complained of concerning the facility's failure to store hazardous waste in compliance with its hazardous waste permit, and the ALJ holds the company liable for those violations. Material issues of fact, however, exist as to whether the facility is liable for all the violations complained of in this count. The ALJ also holds that the company raised questions of fact regarding employee training violations and its alleged failure to minimize the possibility of a release of hazardous waste, and it raised questions of law as to whether some of its drums are exempt from the hazardous waste testing regulations. Lastly, the ALJ denies EPA's request for a penalty assessment as to those claims for which the company was found liable. For the most part, those alleged violations that have not been resolved appear to be factually related to the violations that have been established. Thus, little is to be gained from deciding at this early stage what may turn out to be only a portion of the penalty issue. Moreover, EPA has not shown that there exists no questions of material fact relating to the civil penalty issue.