Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is recommending that Mobil and BP pay more than $548,000 in fines for distributing gasoline in American Samoa and violating federal EPA regulations.
“Last year, American Samoa experienced a severe gasoline shortage that threatened our local economy and the safety of our residents,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “In part, this was brought on by Mobil and BP’s failure to comply with federal USEPA requirements relating to detergent additives for gasoline supplies.”
“The USEPA requires gasoline to be dosed with detergent additives before it can be sold to the public. Last year, a Mobil tanker carrying more than 400 tons of fuel attempted to offload its product in American Samoa and was turned away at the local terminal because the fuel had not been dosed with the detergent additive. When the tanker was turned away, American Samoa experienced one of the worst fuel shortages we had ever known.”
“To make sure that American Samoa never faced this kind of crisis again, I called for an immediate USEPA investigation. In a letter dated October 16, 2002, I asked the USEPA to conduct a full and complete investigation and in October of this year I asked the USEPA to expedite the penalty phase of this investigation. I am now pleased to announce that the USEPA has notified both BP and Mobil of the outcome of its investigation and has proposed penalties accordingly,” the Congressman said.
“In a letter dated November 12, 2003, the USEPA has informed BP that it has discovered that through April 2000 through August 2002, BP Pacific, as the operator of the American Samoa tank farm, accepted the transfer from Mobil Australia of at least 23 barge loads of completely unadditized gasoline, and co-mingled that non-compliant gasoline with its own gasoline to create additional non-compliant gasoline which BP subsequently sold and dispensed to the public.”
“BP Pacific also failed to require product transfer documents (PTDs) containing the correct additization status information. As a gasoline distributor who caused non-complying gasoline to be in the distribution system and also failed to require the transfer of appropriate PTDs for the gasoline, the USEPA has informed BP Pacific that is liable for 46 violations of federal law. The USEPA has proposed a civil penalty of $250,000 as settlement for BP’s wrongdoing.”
“In a letter to Mobil, also dated November 12, 2003, the USEPA found that from April 2000 through August 2002, Mobil Australia shipped at least 23 barge loads of completely unadditized gasoline to American Samoa in violation of federal law. The USEPA also found that the shipments were not accompanied by PTDs. As such, Mobil Australia is also liable for 46 violations of federal law and the USEPA has proposed a civil penalty of $298,000 as settlement for Mobil’s wrongdoing.”
“In a letter dated October 24, 2003, I informed the Director of the USEPA that I believe any and all fines should be paid to the American Samoa Government and not the U.S. Treasury. In turn, I am hopeful that ASG will do what it can to make this right for our people. However, I want to caution that this matter will not be fully resolved until BP and Mobil agree to the terms of the settlement. At this time, I am hopeful that both companies will comply with the USEPA’s recommendations and I am also hopeful that both companies will be more responsible in the future,” the Congressman concluded.