EPA Fines ArcelorMittal US$110k for Environmental Pollution, Violation of Environmental Laws

Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency

MONROVIA – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has slapped steel giant, ArcelorMittal Liberia with a fine of US$110,000 after being found liable for several breaches of the environmental laws and pollution of a water body in Nimba County.

The fine was reached after the management of the EPA held a technical hearing with ArcelorMittal during which the company acknowledged its missteps and expressed a commitment to remedy the situation and take actions that would avoid further occurrences.

The company was found liable for its continued failure to notify the EPA of a major change in its project which posed a significant threat to the environment and human health. This, according to the EPA violates Part III, Section 26 (a & b) of the Environmental Protection and Management Law (EPML). The fine for such a violation is US$10,000, five years imprisonment or both.

ArcelorMittal, according to the EPA, also failed to heed the corrective actions dated 27 June 2021 mandating the acquisition of an environmental permit for the operation of its Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Effluent Discharge. Said violation warrants a fine of US$25,000, 10 years imprisonment, or both.

The company was also found liable for deliberate and unlawful discharge of raw water sewage into wetland comprising the ecological integrity of the wetland and nearby river basin. The EPA fined ArcelorMittal US$50,000 for this violation.

The company was caught using an explosive magazine without a permit from the EPA. This warranted a fine of US$25,000.

The EPA reminded the company that the violations for which it is being fined are similar to violations found during the Compliance Monitoring conducted by the EPA on the operations of ArcelorMittal on 22 September 2018.

“In our letter dated 27 July 2021, the Agency outlined a series of violations again found during a Compliance Monitoring and Compliance audit of your operations conducted earlier. Although you made some efforts to correct the situation, the general size of your environmental footprint has worsened over the period,” the EPA noted in its communication to the management of ArcelorMittal.

The company is also required to do full remediation and restoration of the damaged environment identified in the report referenced. The restoration must be done by a third-party, EPA-certified environmental consultant while the EPA shall approve the restoration plans and ensure the implementation of the said undertaking.