America’s oldest brewery agreed to pay the federal government $2.8 million in fines for allegedly discharging pollutants into a municipal sewage plant. The company also agreed to spend $7 million to improve its environmental compliance.
Yuengling’s violations will cost the company nearly $10 million, according to the Department of Justice, for violating the Clean Water Act, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Yuengling is responsible for serious violations of its Clean Water Act pretreatment discharge limits, posing a potential risk to the Schuylkill River which provides drinking water to 1.5 million people,” EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin said in a statement.
“This history of violations and failure to fully respond to orders from the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority and EPA to correct the problems resulted in this enforcement action,” he said.
Yuengling was founded in 1829 and is the oldest operating brewery in the U.S., as well as one of the country’s largest providers of beer. Now, the company was hit for violating federal law by putting pollutants that weren’t pretreated into a municipal sewage system 141 times since 2008.
EPA is making the company atone for its polluting sins by spending $7 million improving environmental compliance at its Pennsylvania breweries. And that’s on top of the $2.8 million fine the company will have to pay for allegedly polluting.
Interestingly enough, Yuengling’s steep fine comes as House Republicans investigate the EPA-caused mine blowout in Colorado last year. The agency has yet to fire or reprimand a single employee or contractor involved in the Gold King Mine blowout.
Republican lawmakers have criticized EPA for not taking any disciplinary action against those involved in the mine disaster that sent 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater into the Animas River. Thousands of people had their drinking water cut off, and the agency likely violated two federal laws.
EPA took responsibility for the spill and has doled out some cash to compensate impacted communities, but the agency said it would not be paying future expenses related to the spill.
“The EPA must be held accountable for this travesty, and those that were impacted by this man-made disaster should be justly compensated,” Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said in May.
“The EPA-born Gold King Mine disaster financially burdened families, businesses, tribal communities, and local governments not only in Colorado, but also neighboring states,” echoed Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.
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