SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced separate settlements with two companies over the improper storage and labeling of agricultural pesticides. J.R. Simplot Company, one of the largest privately-held agribusiness companies in the nation, and Gar Tootelian, Inc., a long-time distributor of chemicals and fertilizers in the San Joaquin Valley, have agreed to pay a total of $131,920 in civil penalties. The firms have committed to correcting all of the identified compliance issues.
Both companies operated facilities with multiple violations under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, which regulates the distribution, sale and use of pesticides in the United States. Simplot agreed to pay $98,960 and, separately, Gar Tootelian will pay $32,960.
"Pesticide facilities must be managed to prevent releases that could harm workers and the environment," said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "We will continue to work side-by-side with the State of California to ensure companies manage their pesticides safely."
Simplot operates five facilities in California’s Central Valley subject to the enforcement actions, including in the communities of Stockton, Terra Bella, Five Points, Traver and Colusa. Inspections in 2015 and 2016 by EPA and by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation on behalf of EPA found 23 violations.
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act regulations help safeguard the public, the environment, and facility workers by ensuring that pesticides are used, stored, and disposed of safely, and that pesticide containers are adequately cleaned. Pesticide registrants and refillers must comply with the regulations, while consumers are required to follow the label instructions for proper use and disposal.
SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency