Munitions maker will pay $1.2 million for storing hazmat illegally

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Pennsylvania-based explosives maker has agreed to replace its president and chief executive officer and pay a $1.2 million fine after it was caught storing and transporting military grade explosives illegally.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office representing Eastern Pennsylvania, Action Manufacturing Co. builds timing and arms devices for munitions and explosives. To make its products, the company mixes explosive powders and fills boosters, detonators and other items with explosive materials. The process creates solid waste that is explosive, and is required to be disposed with in accordance with laws under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

In November 2011, inspectors from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Land and Chemicals Division and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection inspected Action Manufacturing’s Atglen, Pa., facility. Inspectors found the illegally stored waste “including scrap parts and components that were years or even decades overdue” for disposal, the news release states.

The company admitted that instead of sending the hazardous waste to an approved treatment, storage and disposal facility, it stockpiled the waste at its Atglen facility without a permit. Action Manufacturing also admitted violating federal Department of Transportation regulations that require recordkeeping for transporting explosives on public roads.

The company pleaded guilty to criminal charges tied to storing the explosives and unsafe transportation, and admitted to illegally storing the hazardous waste between 1980 and 2013.

In late August, U.S. District Judge Nitza Quinones Alejandro sentenced the company to pay $1.2 million, to install a new president and CEO, and to be on probation for five years. Action Manufacturing also will undergo an $800 special assessment.

The case was investigated by the EPA’s Criminal Investigations Division and the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Abrams.

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