2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

Hawaii-based Lanai Oil Company settled an EPA enforcement action by agreeing to pay an administrative penalty of $71,166. EPA alleged Lanai failed to review and evaluate its Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan within the required five years, failed to conduct integrity testing of its aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), and failed to permanently close ASTs that were no longer in service.

Having a Plan Is Not Enough
The case illustrates that just creating the SPCC Plan is not enough.  Facility operators must implement the Plan as part of their regular routine.  Failure to follow the Plan, even if the failure is only record keeping, can result in enforcement.

The regulations require operators to review and evaluate their Plans at least every five years.  If changes are identified, they generally must be implemented within six months.

Standards and Circumstances Change
Operators need to consider technological developments and potentially changed circumstances as part of their review and evaluation of SPCC Plans.  If the flood plain designation in the area or the predicted severity of a five-year storm has changed, these might necessitate SPCC Plan changes.  Also, the SPCC regulations refer to “industry standards” and “good engineering practice.”  As relevant industry standards or the requirements of good engineering practice evolve, operators must be aware of and consider these developments as part of their regular review and evaluation of their Plans.

For a link to the EPA Region 9 news release announcing the settlement, which includes a link to access the proposed Consent Agreement and Final Order https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/us-epa-requires-lanai-oil-company-protect-hawaiian-waterways-oil-spills