Missouri ethanol firm signs $2 million Clean Air settlement

WASHINGTON, DC, April 8, 2005 (ENS): The Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the state of Missouri today announced a $ 2 million civil settlement with the Golden Triangle Energy, LLC, ethanol plant in Craig, Missouri for alleged Clean Air Act violations.
Detailed in a consent decree filed in the federal court in Missouri, the settlement requires reductions in air pollution, including volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, from this ethanol manufacturing facility.

The federal and state governments allege that Golden Triangle Energy was operating in violation of the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review (NSR) provisions. The Clean Air Act’s NSR program requires a source to install pollution controls and undertake other pre-construction obligations to control air pollution emissions when there is new construction. Golden Triangle constructed its facility in 2002.

Ethanol is a corn product used as an automobile fuel alone or blended with gasoline. Ethanol’s high oxygen content allows automobile engines to combust fuel better, resulting in reduced tail pipe emissions.

During the ethanol manufacturing process, dry mills burn off gases which emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide into the air.

The agreement announced today requires the plant to install air pollution control equipment that will reduce air emissions of VOCs and carbon monoxide.

In addition to contributing to ground-level ozone, or smog, VOCs can cause serious health problems such as cancer and other effects. Carbon monoxide is harmful because it reduces oxygen delivery to the body’s organs and tissues.

The settlement will result in annual reductions of 150 tons of VOCs, 12 tons of nitrogen oxides, 20 tons of particulate matter, 70 tons of carbon monoxide, and 15 tons of hazardous air pollutants.

Under the consent decree, Golden Triangle’s Craig plant will install a thermal oxidizer that reduces VOC emissions by 95 percent from the feed dryers and meets new restrictive emission limits for nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and hazardous air pollutants.

In addition to emission control requirements valued at about $2 million, the facility will also pay a civil penalty of $30,000. The penalty amount is similar to the amounts paid by other ethanol companies in previous Clean Air Act settlements.

This is the 16th settlement the Justice Department and the EPA have reached with a company in the ethanol industry.

“This consent decree demonstrates our commitment to the reduction of harmful pollutants from ethanol plants, and shows that we will work to ensure a level playing field within the industry by preventing violators from gaining a competitive advantage,” said Tom Sansonetti, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.

“Significant air pollution emission reductions will be achieved under this settlement,” said Administrator for EPA Region 7 Jim Gulliford. “The cooperation of the facility and the teamwork among agencies has resulted in an agreement that ensures that human and ecological health are protected.”

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day comment period and final approval by the court.

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