producer fined $1.4 million for clean air violations
The United States Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) and the United States Justice Department announced
that Cemex, Inc., one of the largest producers of Portland cement
in the United States, has agreed to pay a $1.4 million penalty
for Clean Air Act violations at its cement plant in Fairborn,
Ohio. In addition to the penalty, Cemex will spend an estimated
$2 million on pollution controls that will reduce harmful emissions
of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), pollutants
that can lead to childhood asthma, acid rain and smog.
The settlement addresses modifications Cemex made to its cement
plant without obtaining the proper permit, as required by the
Clean Air Act. Major sources of air pollution are required to
obtain permits which require the installation of pollution control
technology before making changes that would significantly increase
air emissions. Today’s settlement ensures that the proper pollution
control equipment will be installed to reduce future emission
Cemex will install state of the art control technologies that
will reduce annual emissions of NOx by approximately 2,300 tons
and SO2 by approximately 288 tons. Air pollution from cement
plants can travel significant distances downwind, crossing state
lines and creating region-wide health problems. These effects
can have greater impacts on communities disproportionately exposed
to environmental risks and to vulnerable populations, including
Reducing air pollution from the largest sources of emissions,
including cement facilities, is one of EPA’s National Enforcement
Initiatives for 2011-2013. The initiative continues EPA’s focus
on improving compliance with the new source review provisions
of the Clean Air Act among industries that have the potential
to cause significant amounts of air pollution. In fiscal year
2010, EPA’s enforcement actions in the cement manufacturing,
coal-fired power plant, glass and acid sectors led to approximately
370 million pounds of pollution reduced or treated, $1.4 billion
in estimated pollution controls and $14 million in civil penalties.
Cemex, a global building materials company provides cement and
concrete products to construction projects in every sector: industrial,
commercial, residential and municipal, with more than 100 aggregate
quarries and hundreds of ready-mix concrete plants in the United
States. Cemex is one of the largest producers of cement in the
United States, owning and operating 14 Portland cement kiln plants.
Its headquarters is located in Houston.
In January 2009, Cemex agreed to reduce emissions and pay $2
million fine to settle Clean Air Act violations at another one
of its cement plants, located in Victorville, California.
The $1.4 million penalty will be distributed between the United
States, the state of Ohio and the Regional Air Pollution Control
Agency serving Ohio’s Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery
and Preble counties. The state will contribute 20 percent of
its share of the settlement to Ohio EPA’s Clean Diesel School
Bus Program Fund.
The proposed consent decree lodged with the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, will
be subject to a 30-day public comment period.