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IN BRIEF: UPS, TForce settle pollution allegations in five states

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UPS logo on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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  • Companies accused of leaking hazardous substances when packages damaged
  • Shipping companies will enhance reporting, training over two years

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(Reuters) - The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that package- and freight-delivery companies United Parcel Service Inc and TForce Freight Inc will pay a $3.8 million fine in exchange for the agency dropping administrative claims that they polluted communities in five states with hazardous waste.

Under the terms of a consent agreement filed at the EPA, UPS and TForce have 24 months to come into compliance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) at 183 facilities across Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.

Atlanta-based UPS and TForce, formerly known as UPS Ground Freight, do not admit to EPA's allegations.

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UPS spokesperson Matthew O'Connor said: "We have long-standing procedures in place for handling hazardous waste, and will take additional steps to further enhance our practices."

TForce did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Meaghan Boyd of Alston & Bird represented the companies.

The shipping companies sort packages and freight that sometimes contain RCRA-regulated substances, including ignitable and corrosive products, at large hubs that may operate 24 hours a day. Hazardous waste enters the environment when a package is damaged, the consent agreement says.

The EPA claims that the companies failed from 2015 to 2020 to notify environmental regulators they were, at times, discarding excessive amounts of hazardous substances.

The agency also alleges that the companies did not prepare accurate manifests taking note of the hazardous waste they processed at their facilities.

Under the deal, the companies agree to enhance their reporting and train employees, among other measures.

The case is In the Matter of United Parcel Service Inc and TForce Freight, Inc., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Respondents, No. RCRA-06-2021-0906.

For the respondents: Meaghan Boyd of Alston & Bird

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Sebastien Malo reports on environmental, climate and energy litigation. Reach him at sebastien.malo@thomsonreuters.com

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