(The following press release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
was received by e-mail. The sender verified the statement.)
Companies to pay penalty, reduce harmful emissions from Hagerstown cement plant
PHILADELPHIA (July 11, 2013) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and
the U.S. Department of Justice announced today that Holcim (U.S.) Inc., the
owner and operator of a Portland cement manufacturing facility in Hagerstown,
Md., and its previous owner St. Lawrence Cement Co., have agreed to a
settlement that includes a $700,000 civil penalty to resolve Clean Air Act
In addition to the penalty, for continued operations at the plant, Holcim has
agreed to install advanced pollution controls on its kiln at the facility in
order to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions.
“This action demonstrates the importance of the Clean Air Act in protecting the
air we breathe,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.
“Controlling harmful emissions from cement plants helps ensure that human
health and the environment are protected in surrounding communities and
downwind from the plants.”
The DOJ, on behalf of EPA, filed a complaint against Holcim and St. Lawrence in
April 2011 alleging that between 2003 and 2007, the companies unlawfully made
modifications to the Hagerstown cement kiln that resulted in significant net
increases of sulfur dioxide emissions without first obtaining the permit
required by the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration and
Non-Attainment New Source Review requirements.
This section of the Clean Air Act specifically requires that, if modifications
are made to facilities that result in significant net increases in emissions,
the operator must perform a pollution analysis and obtain the necessary permit
in advance of construction and install any required pollution control
In addition to the civil penalty, Holcim will spend at least $150,000 on an
environmental mitigation project approved to benefit air quality, which will
involve replacing an outdated piece of equipment with a newer model that emits
lower levels of pollutants.
The settlement is part of EPA’s national enforcement initiative to control
harmful air pollution from the largest sources of emissions, including Portland
cement manufacturing facilities.
Exposure to emissions of sulfur dioxide, a key pollutant emitted from cement
plants, can cause severe respiratory problems. Reducing sulfur dioxide
emissions will benefit the communities located near the facility, particularly
communities disproportionately impacted by environmental risks and vulnerable
populations, including children. Air pollution from Portland cement
manufacturing facilities can travel significant distances downwind, crossing
state lines and creating region-wide health problems.
The proposed consent decree was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the
District of Maryland, and will be subject to a 30-day public comment period. A
copy of the consent decree lodged today is available on the Department of
Justice Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html .
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