J.R. Simplot Company has settled with the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over concerns about the company’s Don Plant manufacturing facility in Idaho, which manufactures phosphate products for agriculture and industry. Simplot allegedly failed to properly identify and manage certain waste streams as hazardous wastes, a violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). As part of the agreement, Simplot will need to modify its processes in an effort to increase recovery and reuse of phosphate. Simplot will have to pay a civil penalty of $1.5 million.
Simplot also allegedly violated the Clean Air Act (CAA); the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA); and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). To rectify these issues, Simplot will spend $150 million to implement waste management measures and will cease operation of the facility’s cooling towers no later than June 27, 2026 in favor of cooling ponds. Simplot will also need to pay $200,000 for environmental mitigation work.
In a recent quote, Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield of the EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance said, “This is an important settlement which reduces the environmental impacts from one of the leading fertilizer manufacturers. This settlement advances EPA’s goals by creating environmentally beneficial waste management practices and ensures that the U.S. taxpayer will not be responsible for future costs associated with closure of this facility. Additionally, this settlement ensures that any future expansion of Simplot’s operations will be conducted according to strict requirements to minimize impacts to surrounding communities, including the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.