The Gas Co. LLC, more commonly known as Hawaii Gas, a natural gas distributor based in Kapolei, has agreed to pay a $230,000 fine for violating rules in the 1990 Clean Air Act, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The company also agreed to modify equipment to reduce the risk of hazardous releases of flammable substances and to improve overall safety by training maintenance employees, addressing audit recommendations and completing “other compliance tasks,” the agency said Monday in a press release.
In January 2020, the EPA conducted an inspection of the facility and found the company violated both chemical release prevention and reporting requirements.
The Gas Co. failed to meet process safety requirements, correct equipment deficiencies, perform an adequate process hazards analysis and promptly address related recommendations, the agency said. It added that the company also lacked the required information in the facility’s emergency response plan.
“Facilities that do not comply with federal requirements will face significant fines,” said Amy Miller, the EPA’s enforcement and compliance assurance division director for the Pacific Southwest region.
Hawaii Gas said it “takes the safety of our employees and the public seriously and worked cooperatively with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ensure ongoing compliance with the EPA Risk Management Plan program.”
“We are committed to continuously improving accident prevention programs at our facilities and appreciate the guidance provided by the EPA to help minimize potential hazards,” the company said Tuesday in an email.
The inspection of the company was part of the agency’s National Compliance Initiative, which is aimed at decreasing the likelihood of accidental releases at facilities.
The settlement is part of a series of similar agreements the EPA has reached with other Hawaii-based companies to ensure chemical accident prevention requirements across the nation.
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Lauren Teruya is a Poynter-Koch reporting fellow for Honolulu Civil Beat. She is a graduate of Iolani School and holds a master's degree in specialized journalism from the University of Southern California. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.