Lafarge, which operates a large cement factory in Ravena, will be allowed to delay the construction of new pollution control systems in exchange for agreeing to cut emissions even more than it had previously promised.
More than two years ago, Lafarge reached a legal settlement with both state and federal officials to dramatically reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide at its plants in Ravena and elsewhere in the state.
As part of a December 2010 settlement, Lafarge said it would replace two kilns at the Ravena plant with a new state-of-the-art kiln by the end of 2015 that would have advanced pollution controls.
Under the agreement announced Tuesday, Lafarge would get another 18 months to build the new kiln. It will also agree to lower its mercury emissions another 25 percent and possibly lower SO2 and NOx emissions when the new kiln becomes operational.
Another major part of the agreement is that Lafarge has agreed to set up a $2 million fund to train workers if it decides to close the plant and not build the new kiln.
Pollution at the Ravena factory, which sits across from the local high school, has been the subject of concern from many local residents, including those on the other side of the Hudson River in Rensselaer County.
Lafarge officials say that the new agreement will help save jobs at the facility, which employs 115 people.
"Lafarge U.S. remains committed to transforming the Ravena plant into an efficient, competitive, state-of-the-art facility with the advanced efficiency features that will enable the plant to compete successfully and meet the economy's need for high quality cement," said Mike Kralik, the Ravena plant manager.
Under the 2010 agreement, Lafarge agreed to pay a penalty of more than $5 million to federal and state agencies while spending $170 million to upgrade facilities at 13 plants across the country.
The new agreement requires an additional $1.5 million in spending by Lafarge in Ravena to reduce emissions at the plant.