Oregon will get $24,000 from a settlement agreement that the U.S. EPA reached with Marsulex and two other manufacturers of sulfuric acid for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act.
Chemtrade Logistics, and Chemtrade Refinery Services were also fined for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act.
All three companies will pay a civil penalty of $700,000 under the Clean Air Act settlement.
Of that amount, $460,000 will be paid to the federal government, and $240,000 will be shared by Ohio, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Ohio received $120,000, while Louisiana and Oklahoma received $60,000 each, according to the EPA.
The companies will also spend at least $12 million on air pollution controls that are expected to eliminate more than 3,000 tons of harmful emissions annually from production plants, according to the EPA.
Marsulex has agreed to improve chemical processing equipment at its plant on Otter Creek Road, which will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by July, 2011. The company will also install a new scrubber at Chemtrade’s sulfuric acid plant in Cairo, Ohio, to meet lower sulfur dioxide limits by July, 2011, according to the EPA.
Marsulex’s and Chemtrade’s plants produce sulfuric acid by burning sulfur or used sulfuric acid, thereby creating sulfur dioxide, which poses a health threat to children, the elderly, and people with heart and lung conditions, according to the EPA.
The EPA, in its complaint, had alleged that Marsulex and Chemtrade made modifications to their plants, which increased emissions of sulfur dioxide without first obtaining pre-construction permits and installing required pollution control equipment. The Clean Air Act requires major sources of air pollution to obtain such permits before making changes that would result in a significant emissions increase of pollutants.
Oregon Law Director Paul Goldberg said the settlement is similar to fine paid by Sun some years ago.
“At that time, the city had asked for a Supplemental Environmental Program (SEP),” said Goldberg. “We got $75,000 to plant trees. Subsequent to that time, however, the EPA kind of moved away from those kinds of penalties given to cities. Now, apparently what they’re doing is updating school bus exhaust systems in major cities with some of this fine money.”
Tom Hays, who also represents the city, contacted the U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA in hopes of getting some of the Marsulex settlement money for Oregon, said Goldberg.
“To our surprise, a federal court ordered $24,000 to the City of Oregon for a tree program in and around Marsulex. We’re very pleased about that. We should get that money shortly. I think there’s already a plan for planting trees in that area. The money could be used for that,” said Goldberg.
Sulfuric acid, according to the EPA, is one of the top products of the chemical industry, and is mainly used for ore processing, fertilizer manufacturing, oil refining, wastewater processing and chemical synthesis.