Industry News




 

06/03/2013

Wal-Mart Fined $81 Million for Environmental Violations

 
Wal-Mart has been fined over $81 million for multiple environmental violations.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. must pay approximately $81.6 million for illegally handling and disposing of hazardous materials at stores across the U.S. after pleading guilty to six counts of violating the Clean Water Act, as well as a separate case involving the improper handling of over 2 million pounds of pesticides and a related civil suit filed by the EPA.

Coupled with previous fines resulting from actions brought by California and Missouri for the same conduct, Wal-Mart owes more than $110 million for federal and state violations.

Documents filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco allege that from an unknown date until January 2006, Wal-Mart did not have a program for hazardous waste management and disposal in place and failed to train employees on proper hazardous waste practices at the store level. That meant that hazardous wastes were either discarded improperly at several stores – including being put into municipal trash bins or poured into the local sewer system – or they were improperly transported without proper safety documentation to one of six product return centers.  This case was later merged with a similar one in Los Angeles.

“By improperly handling hazardous waste, pesticides and other materials in violation of federal laws, Wal-Mart put the public and the environment at risk and gained an unfair economic advantage over other companies,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  “Today, Wal-Mart acknowledged responsibility for violations of federal laws and will pay significant fines and penalties, which will, in part, fund important environmental projects in the communities impacted by the violations and help prevent future harm to the environment.”

The Clean Water Act violations in San Francisco and Los Angeles alone resulted in a $40 million criminal fine, plus an additional $20 million for community projects. This includes a $6 million Retail Compliance Assistance Center, which will assist retail stores nationwide with hazardous waste handling.

The pesticide case, which Wal-Mart pleaded guilty to in the Western District of Missouri, involved violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). According to the plea agreement filed in Kansas City, in 2006 Wal-Mart began to send damaged household products, including solid and liquid pesticides, from its six return centers to Greenleaf LLC, a recycling facility in Neosho, MO that processed them for reuse and resale. However, Wal-Mart employees did not provide adequate oversight of the pesticides, which resulted in pesticides being mixed together and put up for sale without the mandatory registration, ingredients, or use information. Wal-Mart trucked more than 2 million pounds of pesticides and other household products to Greenleaf between July 2006 and February 2008.

This case resulted in a criminal fine of $11 million, as well as $3 million to be paid to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Hazardous Waste Program to fund further inspections and pesticide education. Wal-Mart has also spent over $3.4 million to remove hazardous material from Greenleaf’s facility and dispose of it properly.

The retailer must also pay a $7.628 million civil penalty to resolve its violations of FIFRA and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and is also required to implement a comprehensive environmental compliance agreement to manage hazardous waste generated at all of its U.S. stores.

 

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04/24/2014

Explore real-time green building data through the newly launched data visualization resource from the USGBC.

04/23/2014

A key part to curbing emissions is working with local and city officials, tenants, and other groups to help make entire communities more sustainable. BOMA International shares the following strategies for greening your facility and community.

04/21/2014

Lighting fixes target the bottom line.

04/16/2014

The U.S. Army plans to start development of a solar array that will provide about 25% of the annual installation electricity requirement of Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

04/15/2014

The EPA's annual greenhouse gas emissions report is now available.

04/14/2014

Are you what some would call a “climate-change denier”? If so, you'll want to read this.

04/10/2014
Los Angeles has remained the top city for ENERGY STAR certified building since 2008, while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the fifth consecutive year, according to a new list released by the EPA.
04/09/2014
Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time.
04/07/2014
Field demonstrations of newly proven energy-efficient technologies are yielding valuable results for the U.S. Navy, helping it meet energy goals.
04/03/2014
Building owners in Chicago now have more options when it comes to getting their building energy data verified.
04/01/2014
According to a new report from Eaton, such outages are up 15% in 2013 over 2012 and over half of those surveyed believe that downtime could have been prevented.
03/31/2014
The newly revised ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2014, Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing, and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, aims to provide a consistent method of measuring, expressing, and comparing the energy performance of buildings.
03/27/2014
Facility managers face an every expanding array of sustainability choices and challenges, but for the next generation of FMs, green practices could be second nature as sustainability literacy enters the K-12 school system.
03/25/2014
While the economic recession explains the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to fall.
03/24/2014
University of Washington (UW) scientists have built the thinnest known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.
03/21/2014
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2378 into law, effectively enacting the state’s first building code.
03/19/2014
In an attempt to improve building energy performance, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a web-based tool called the Technology Performance Exchange, or TPEx.
03/18/2014
Could green building practices pose unanticipated life-safety hazards?
03/13/2014
Worried about workplace violence in your facility? Researchers have discovered that “mindfully observing” high-risk employees can avert danger and workplace violence.
03/11/2014
Through the DOE’s Building Energy Codes Program, every dollar the DOE has spent on building energy codes over the past two decades has resulted in $400 in energy cost savings.
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