- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.VA. (AP) - State and federal authorities announced Monday that DuPont and Lucite International have agreed to pay $2 million to settle air pollution violations at a West Virginia plant.

The violations stem from sulfur dioxide releases from a sulfuric acid unit owned by Lucite but operated by DuPont at its Belle plant in Kanawha County. The announcement said Lucite voluntarily agreed to close the unit by next April.

DuPont spokesman Dan Turner said the company disagreed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s interpretation of standards applied to the unit, but the company decided to work with regulators to resolve the dispute.

DuPont doesn’t anticipate any layoffs when the unit is closed, Turner said.

The emissions come from the burning of sulfuric acid sludge. Part of the emissions are recovered, but some is released into the atmosphere. In addition the sulfur dioxide emissions, the unit releases sulfuric acid mist, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release.

Sulfuric acid is used to process ore, produce fertilizer, refine oil, process wastewater and chemical synthesis.

“Sulfur dioxide emissions can be harmful to children, the elderly, and people with heart and lung conditions,” said Catherine McCabe, with EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

Closing the unit will reduce air emissions from the plant by more than 1,000 tons a year, she said.

EPA, the Justice Department and the state Department of Environmental Protection said the violations stem from modifications the companies made to the unit in 1996 without obtaining pre-construction permits or installing air pollution controls. The Clean Air Act requires permits for modifications that could result in significant increases in air pollution.

Turner said the unit started operating before new emission standards and review programs were implemented. The unit was routinely inspected and maintained and did not increase the amount of emissions from the plant, he said.

The agreement was to be filed with the U.S. District Court in Charleston. Interested parties have 30 days to comment on the agreement before it’s finalized.

The agreement requires the companies to pay $1 million to the EPA and $1 million to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

___

On the Net:

U.S. EPA settlement: https://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/caa/dupontlucite.html

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