The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently won a settlement—in the amount of $3.2 million—against sea life processing company Westward Seafoods after the company repeatedly violated the Clean Air Act (CAA). Employees at AK fish processing facility Westward’s Unalska disabled air pollution controls two years ago and filed false records to hide their actions. The EPA estimates that Westward’s failure to operate in accordance to the CAA resulted in the emission of nearly 105 tons of nitrous oxide—a toxic gas that can cause serious illness and aggravate respiratory conditions of local residents. Westward is required to spend $1.1 million on pollution reduction projects, pay $1.3 million in civil penalties ($280,000 of which will be paid to the state of Alaska), and $800,000 in other injunctive relief. As this is not the first time the company has violated the CAA—it paid $570,000 for similar violations in 2010—the EPA now requires that Westward be monitored through an electronic system and a third party auditor annually. Governmental bodies are increasingly acknowledging the environmental toll of animal agriculture, as evidenced by a recent $160,000 penalty imposed on an Iowa dairy factory farm for violating the Clean Water Act by improperly managing waste. Last month, a D.C. federal district court ruled that all concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs, commonly known as factory farms) must now report greenhouse gas emissions.
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