Saint-Gobain Containers settles alleged clean air act violations

Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc. of Muncie, Indiana and the US Department of Justice and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have reached a settlement to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations by …

Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc. of Muncie, Indiana and the US Department of Justice and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have reached a settlement to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations by the glass packaging manufacturer at its Madera, California facility, it was on announced 20 April 2005. The agreement will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx), and particulate matter (PM) by more than 400 tons a year through the installation of approximately USD 6.6 million worth of new equipment to control and monitor air pollution. Saint-Gobain will also pay a civil penalty of USD 929,000 and spend USD 1.2 million for an environmental project to reduce emissions. EPA estimates that Saint-Gobain will spend approximately USD 2.2 million per annum to operate and maintain the new equipment. The settlement resolves EPA“s allegation that Saint-Gobain failed to apply the best available control technology to control NOx emissions when it modified a furnace in 1998. EPA also alleged that the company failed to timely install a continuous emissions monitoring system to measure NOx emissions in 2002, failed to test emissions in 2000 and 2001, and violated a condition of its Title V air permit by improperly certifying that the facility complied with federal law in 2000 and 2001. “This is a positive result that will bring cleaner air to the residents of the San Joaquin Valley and provide a strong mechanism to strengthen the area“s environment for years to come,” stated Kelly A. Johnson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department“s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Saint-Gobain“s commitment to reduce plant emissions is a step in the right direction for the Valley“s air quality,” said Wayne Nastri, the EPA“s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. As part of the settlement, Saint-Gobain has agreed to comply immediately with interim air pollution limits, obtain proper air permits, install pollution control equipment on its furnaces by March 2007, and donate approximately USD 1 million worth of emission credits generated by the emission reductions. Air pollution control equipment installed at the plant will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 226 tons per year, sulfur dioxide output by 167 tons per year, and particulate emissions by 33 tons per year. Nitrogen oxides released during glass melting are contribute to smog that aggravates respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. The San Joaquin Valley is second to the Los Angeles area as the smoggiest area in the country. According to data from the California Air Resources Board, the San Joaquin Valley broke the eight-hour federal health limit 109 times in 2004.