EPA fines Air Force for mismanaging hazardous waste on Shemya

A large trapezoidal structure on treeless ground
The COBRA DANE radar at Eareckson Air Station on Shemya Island. The U.S. military began activities on Shemya during World War II. In the 1990s, the Air Force built a more modern station and has maintained a presence there since. (Photo by Chief Petty Officer Brandon Rail/Alaskan NORAD Region, Alaskan Com.)

The United States Air Force has agreed to pay more than $200,000 in fines for mismanaging hazardous waste on Shemya Island in the far Western Aleutians. Shemya is about 500 miles from mainland Russia and about 1,500 miles west of Anchorage.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrote in a June 23 statement that the Air Force had stored hazardous waste without a permit at Eareckson Air Station, improperly storing tons of toxic waste fuel and oil, hazardous paints, hydrochloric acid and other chemicals as well as waste items like batteries and aerosol cans.

The Air Force agreed to pay $206,811 in penalties, as well as to properly dispose of around 55,000 pounds of hazardous waste by the end of June 2022.

Ed Kowalski, a spokesperson for the EPA, said he’s “grateful that the Air Force has acknowledged its mistakes and stepped up to its responsibilities to fix the problem.”

The U.S. military presence began on Shemya during World War II. In the 1990s, the Air Force built a more modern station and has maintained a presence there since.

Read next

Site notifications
Update notification options
Subscribe to notifications