September 17, 2011

Criminal Charges in Major US E-Waste Exporter Case

Filed under: Asia, Chemicals & Waste, North America, seaports — Tags: , , — inece @ 7:39 am

The owner and chief executive officer of an electronic waste recycling buisness in Colorado, USA,  have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire and mail fraud, environmental crimes in connection with the failure to file a notification to export hazardous waste, exportation contrary to law, and destruction, alteration, or falsification of records.

“The investigation confirmed that Executive Recycling repeatedly exported used cathode ray tubes to China. In addition, Executive Recycling also made false promises to its customers who believed that Executive Recycling was properly disposing of their electronic waste. Homeland Security Investigations stands ready to prevent any company from circumventing U.S. controls to export hazardous waste,” said David M. Marwell, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Denver, Colorado.

The indictment is the result of an ongoing 30 month investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division.

Excerpted from the U.S. Department of Justice Press Release. For the full press release, see http://www.justice.gov/usao/co/press_releases/2011/September2011/9_16_11.html.

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July 12, 2011

Videos from CEC E-waste Public Forum Available Online

Filed under: North America, seaports — Tags: — inece @ 4:34 pm

Videos and presentations from the June annual meetings of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) Council and Joint Public Advisory Committee are now available on the CEC website.

You can now watch the Managing E-waste in North America Public Forum, hosted by the Joint Public Advisory Committee on 21 June, in its entirety, and download presentations from sessions on environmentally sound management practices for e-waste, inter-agency enforcement cooperation and a roundtable discussion with representatives from Dell Global Takeback, Mexico’s REMSA, and the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.

The forum also featured an overview of e-waste challenges and opportunities in North America by Sarah Westervelt, e-Stewardship Policy Director at the Basel Action Network.

See http://www.cec.org/Council2011.

June 20, 2011

Join the CEC Public Forum on E-Waste Webcast on 21 June

Filed under: 9th Conference, Chemicals & Waste, North America — Tags: — inece @ 6:44 pm

The public is invited to participate in the 18th Regular Session of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) Council and related events starting June 21. The events will be broadcast online in English, Spanish and French. During the meeting you will have opportunities to ask questions of the presenters and give feedback on their presentations. For more details, see the agendas online.

The events will kick off on Tuesday, 21 June, beginning at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Time), with a public forum on managing e-waste in North America, organized by the CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC).

On Wednesday, 22 June, the CEC Council, consisting of the cabinet-level environment ministers of the three NAFTA countries–Peter Kent of Canada, Juan Elvira Quesada of Mexico, and Lisa P. Jackson of the United States–will hold its annual session. Council members will address environmental issues of common concern and set direction for the Commission’s work program.

Council members will hear from selected members of the public on matters of interest or concern related to the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation or CEC endeavors.

Whether in person or from afar, you can participate in these free public sessions, as both will be webcast via the CEC website. Comments and questions may be submitted online at the website, or through Facebook andTwitter with #ewaste2011 and #CEC2011.

The full preliminary meeting agenda and registration form are available at www.cec.org/council2011. Get involved now!

April 6, 2011

Environment Canada reports record seizure of more than $1 million of HCFC-22

Filed under: Chemicals & Waste, Environmental Crime, North America — inece @ 8:50 pm

(C) 2007 NASA

The company, Gestion Alexis Dionne Inc. and its president, Mr. Alexis Dionne, have accepted responsibility for the illegal importation of approximately 120,000 kg of chlorodifluoromethane (HFCF-22). According to a press release from Environment Canada, the company and its president have been charged with four counts of illegal importation of HFCF-22 between September 2008 and June 2009, in contravention of the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations, 1998.

To read the full article, click here: http://tinyurl.com/44owfh2

March 8, 2011

Canada Reports Record Seizure of Illegally Imported Ozone Depleting Substances

Filed under: Chemicals & Waste, Environmental Crime, North America — Tags: , — inece @ 2:10 pm

From the Environment Canada Press Release:

Following an investigation conducted by Environment Canada officers, the company Gestion Alexis Dionne Inc. and its president, Mr. Alexis Dionne, have accepted responsibility for the illegal importation of approximately 120,000 kg of chlorodifluoromethane (HFCF-22), a gas used in the refrigeration industry.

The company and its president have been charged with four counts of illegal importation of HFCF-22 between September 2008 and June 2009, in contravention of the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations,1998.

With the agreement of the Attorney General of Canada, they have signed on March 2, 2011, an Environmental Protection Alternative Measures Agreement (EPAM) as provided under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

The charges against company Gestion Alexis Dionne Inc. and its president, Mr. Alexis Dionne, follow an investigation conducted by Environment Canada officers in 2009 at a warehouse located in Saint-Jérôme, Québec, where 5,315 cylinders, or approximately 72,285 kg, of HCFC-22 were discovered and seized. This is a record seizure.

Visit Environment Canada for the full Press Release.

February 25, 2011

EPA orders proper disposal of intercepted electronic waste shipment destined for Vietnam

Filed under: Asia, North America, seaports — Tags: , — inece @ 2:22 pm

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency press release highlights responses to the detection of an illegal shipment of discarded computer monitors to Vietnam.

 

Used Computer Monitors by Victoria Reay (flickr)

(Seattle – Feb. 15, 2011) — Metro Metals Corp. and Avista Recycling, Inc. have been ordered to properly dispose of computer waste they attempted to illegally export from Minnesota to Vietnam through the Port of Seattle, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA is simultaneously seeking a $31,600 penalty against the companies for violating federal hazardous waste laws. 

Metro Metals Corp., a Toronto, Canada, based company, and Avista Recycling, Inc., a recycling company operating in Hopkins, Minnesota, arranged for the export of a shipment of 913 discarded computer monitors to Vietnam on December 6, 2010. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted the shipment, which had been incorrectly identified in shipping paperwork as “scrap plastic,” at the Port of Seattle for inspection before it could leave the U.S.

“Companies that collect discarded cathode ray tubes must be held accountable to manage these wastes in compliance with our laws which ensure that they will be properly handled, and not sent abroad to countries that have not agreed to receive waste from the U.S.” said Edward Kowalski, EPA’s Director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle.

Some televisions and computer monitors contain cathode ray tubes (CRTs). Color computer CRT monitors contain an average of four pounds of lead. CRTs may also contain mercury, cadmium and arsenic.

EPA alleges that the companies violated several federal hazardous waste management requirements designed to ensure the proper management and transport of such wastes. First, the companies failed to evaluate their waste and identify it as hazardous. They also failed to manifest the waste or comply with other pre-transit requirements for such shipments. Even more importantly, the companies failed to notify EPA of their intent to export the waste to Vietnam and, consequently, attempted to bypass the process required for Vietnam to consent to receive hazardous wastes from the U.S. before it can leave the country.

For the full press release, see US EPA’s News Room.

February 8, 2011

CEC to Host North American E-Waste Webcast: 15–16 February

Filed under: North America, seaports — Tags: — inece @ 3:58 pm

From CEC:

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has organized the “Workshop on E-waste Recycling and Refurbishing: Environmentally Sound Management Practices” and invites interested persons to follow the webcast on 15–16 February (2011), starting at 9:00 a.m.

The meeting will foster an exchange of experiences among experts, government officials, and members of the public, to assess the environmental, social and economic challenges and advantages of applying and adopting sustainable e-waste practices. An additional benefit will be to promote the enforcement of environmental laws in the transborder movement of these wastes.

Register early to follow the Workshop webcast—which will feature simultaneous interpretation in Spanish, French and English—and submit your questions and comments. The preliminary agenda is available online.

For further information, visit the CEC website.

February 1, 2011

Attempted Illegal Export of Hazardous Material Brings $30,000 Penalty

Filed under: North America, seaports — Tags: — inece @ 3:51 pm

From an Environment Canada press release:

TORONTO, Ont. — January 31, 2011 — An environmental enforcement investigation conducted by Environment Canada in co-operation with Transport Canada ended Friday, January 28, with a guilty plea from Jieyang Sigma Metal Plastic Inc., a parent company of J.S. Chen Recycling, of Toronto, in the Ontario Court of Justice. Jieyang Sigma Metal Plastic Inc. pleaded guiltyto three charges of violating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, and two charges under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992.

Lead-Acid Car Battery

Jieyang Sigma Metal Plastic Inc. was fined $18,000 for violating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, and $12,000 for violating the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992. Of this, $18,000 will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund, $10,000 to the Technical Research and Development Fund and $2,000 to be directed to the Receiver General of Canada and credited to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The inspection that led to this investigation began in the fall of 2007. The investigation revealed violations under the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. During inspections at the Port of Vancouver, the Canada Border Services Agency’s Export Unit examined two containers which were found to be holding approximately 1200 used lead acid batteries and seven cathode ray tube monitors. One container had been refused entry by China due to an error in shipment and was returned to Canada. The second container was destined for Hong Kong, but never left Vancouver. Both containers were referred to Environment Canada and Transport Canada for further examination.

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, aims to prevent pollution, and protect the environment and human health by preventing and managing risks posed by toxic and other harmful substances. The Act also manages the environmental and human health impacts through provisions related to biotechnology; marine pollution; disposal at sea; vehicle, engine and equipment emissions; fuels; hazardous wastes; and environmental emergencies.

For more information on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, and theTransportation of Dangerous Goods Act, please visit: www.ec.gc.ca/CEPARegistry andhttp://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/T-19.01/index.html.

November 2, 2010

Global Crackdown on Illegal Hazardous Waste Shipping Confirms Benefits of Cross-Border Cooperation

Filed under: Africa, Asia, Europe, INECE Secretariat, North America, seaports — inece @ 1:26 pm

An example of a container declared as paper waste but found to be a mixture of household waste upon inspection. Photo credit Jurgen Braun.

A simultaneous environmental inspection initiative at seaports in June and July 2010 involving authorities from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe resulted in the detection of illegal hazardous and electronic waste and confirmed the benefits of informal international cooperation to respond to illegal transboundary movement of hazardous wastes through seaports.

Initial results indicate that, of the 72 total targeted inspections conducted during the inspection month, 54% were infringements. The illegal waste streams most often encountered during the event were: e-waste wrongly declared as second hand goods, waste batteries wrongly described as plastic or mixed metal scrap, and cathode ray tubes from television and computer monitors wrongly classified as metal scrap. In 19 of the reported cases of infraction, the illegal shipments of waste were returned to the country of origin. In 9 further cases, the detected waste was treated in the country of detection.

More than one dozen countries participated in the International Hazardous Waste Inspections Exercise at Seaports, an initiative coordinated by the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement’s (INECE) Seaport Environmental Security Network (SESN). Involved authorities, which included customs, environment, police and port officials, conducted inspections at seaports across the globe.

(more…)

August 17, 2010

Administrator Jackson Announces EPA’s International Priorities at CEC Meeting

Filed under: North America — inece @ 8:26 pm

WASHINGTON – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has announced the agency’s international priorities at a meeting of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation she is attending in Guanajuato, Mexico. The international priorities echo Administrator Jackson’s priorities for EPA, which she announced earlier this year, and aim to promote citizen engagement, improve public health and increase government accountability on environmental enforcement.

“Pollution doesn’t stop at international borders, and neither can our environmental and health protections. The local and national environmental issues of the past are now global challenges,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This document sends a strong message to our partners in the international community that our challenges are shared challenges, and that we are eager to work together on solutions. Along with the seven EPA priorities I issued earlier this year, these six international priorities will guide our work during the months and years ahead.”

The full press release is available from the epa.gov press room.

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