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Feds issue big fine to 2 Yakima County fruit companies

July 27, 2021 GMT

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — The federal government has issued big fines against two Yakima County fruit companies for missing the annual deadline for filing forms reporting that their facilities store anhydrous ammonia.

Stadelman Fruit LLC was fined $238,875 by the Environmental Protection Agency, while Hollingbery and Sons Inc. and the related Hollingbery CA and Cold Storage LLC were penalized a total of $118,200.

The Capital Press reported the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act requires companies that store hazardous chemicals to submit the forms by March 1 to state and local emergency planners, and the local fire department.

Bud Hollingbery, president of the Hollingbery companies, said Friday his businesses have been sending in the information for years. In 2020, the employee who files the forms had a family emergency, and the forms weren’t submitted until May 12, he said.

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By then, according to EPA, the Hollingbery companies had committed 12 violations .

Stadelman Fruit also was fined for missing the March 1, 2020, reporting deadline for its four cold-storage facilities in Zillah. Stadelman agreed to settle, but also did not admit to the allegations. Efforts to obtain comment from the company were unsuccessful.

Congress passed the Right-To-Know Act in 1986, two years after a chemical disaster in Bhopal, India, killed thousands.