In a settlement to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, Lehigh Cement and Leigh White Cement will invest approximately $12 million in pollution control technology.
The DOJ says the settlement will reduce more than 4,555 tonnes of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 989 tonnes of sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution each year.
Bruce Gelber, deputy assistant attorney general for the justice department’s environment and natural resources division, says: “This settlement with Lehigh and Lehigh White will significantly reduce harmful air emissions at their cement plants nationwide. The settlement is a product of the federal government’s close work with state and local agencies who all share the goal of improving air quality in their regions in compliance with state and federal laws.”
Susan Bodine, assistant administrator of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, says: “Today’s settlement will require these cement manufacturers to improve their operations to reduce harmful air pollutants. The upgrades at these facilities will improve air quality for the surrounding communities.”
Under this settlement, the companies will install and operate equipment to control NOx and meet emission limits that are consistent with controls at comparable cement kilns across the US. They will also be required to operate existing pollution controls at four kilns and meet more stringent emission limits. For controlling SO2, Lehigh will install and operate pollution control equipment at several kilns and will meet low SO2 emission limits at all kilns.
As part of the agreement, Lehigh is to mitigate the effects of past excess emissions from its facilities by replacing old diesel truck engines at its facilities in Union Bridge (Maryland) and Mason City (Iowa) at an estimated cost of approximately $650,000. This move is expected to reduce smog-forming NOx by approximately 25 tonnes per year. Lehigh will also pay a civil penalty of $1.3 million to resolve Clean Air Act violations.
The Lehigh cement plants covered by the settlement are located in Leeds (Alabama) Cupertino, Redding and Tehachapi (California), Mason City (Iowa), Mitchell (India); Union Bridge (Maryland), Glens Falls, (New York), and Fleetwood (Pennsylvania). Lehigh White’s facilities are located in York, ((Pennsylvania) and Woodway (Texas). Seven state and state or regional agencies have joined the United States in the settlement, consisting of Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, New York, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Jefferson County Board of Health (Alabama), and Bay Area Air Quality Management District (California). The states and state and regional agencies will share in the civil penalty.