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Lafarge North America receives fine; will improve environmental performance

World Cement,

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken action against Lafarge North America, Inc., which it claims has committed violations against the Clean Air Act. The findings result from an EPA investigation into files and data going as far back as 1992.

EPA statement

Extracts from an EPA statement dated 21 January are copied below:

The United States today filed two major Clean Air Act settlements to reduce air emissions from container glass and Portland cement plants throughout the country, announced Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, and Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division.  The settlements cover all 15 U.S. plants owned by Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc., the nation’s second largest container glass manufacturer, and all 13 U.S. plants owned by the Lafarge Company and two subsidiaries, the nation’s second largest manufacturer of Portland cement.  These settlements are the first system-wide settlements for these sectors under the Clean Air Act and require pollution control upgrades, acceptance of enforceable emission limits, and payment of civil penalties.

The facilities are estimated to reduce a combined 41 000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM) each year. SO2, NOx, and PM can trigger respiratory difficulties and asthma, and environmental harms such as acid rain, visibility impairments, and water quality impacts.

Lafarge North America, Inc., based in Herndon, Va., and two of its subsidiaries have agreed in a consent decree filed in federal court in Benton, Ill., to install and implement control technologies at an expected cost of up to US$170 million to reduce emissions of NOx by more than 9000 tons each year and SO2 by more than 26 000 tons per year at their cement plants.

In addition to the US$170 million spent on improving air pollution control technology, Lafarge will also reportedly pay a US$5 million penalty, split between the states in question and the US.

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