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California Portland Company Settlement

(Washington, DC - December 15, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced that CalPortland Company (CPC), a major producer of Portland cement and building materials in the United States, has agreed to pay a $1.425 million dollar penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at its cement plant in Mojave, California. In addition to the penalty, CPC will spend an estimated $1.3 million on pollution controls that will reduce harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), pollutants that can lead to childhood asthma, and smog.

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Overview of Companies and Location of facilities

California Portland Company (CPC) is the largest producer of sand, gravel and quarry rock in the Pacific Northwest. CPC owns and operates three Portland cement plants in the United States and is headquartered in Glendora, Calif. 

The facility covered by the settlement is located in Kern County, Calif. The Facility includes a dry process Portland cement manufacturing facility with an annual capacity of 1.44 million tons of cement clinker, along with a nearby quarry to mine raw products such as limestone and clay for use in cement production.  

Emissions from the Mojave plant are approximately 3,200 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 1,200 tons of sulfur dioxides (SO2) per year.   

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The Complaint alleges that CPC constructed or made major modifications at the Mojave plant resulting in increased emissions of NOx, SO2 , and carbon monoxide (CO), without first obtaining a pre-construction permit and installing required pollution control equipment in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) provisions, Part C of the Title I, at §§ 7661a-f; and CAA 42 U.S.C. §§ 7470-7492.

In addition, the Complaint alleges that CPC violated Title V and the federal and state approved regulations by failing to submit accurate and complete permit applications, that, among other things, identified all applicable requirements including the relevant PSD requirements and the requirement to apply best available control technology (BACT) pursuant to PSD. 

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Injunctive Relief

The consent decree requires CPC to install and continuously operate BACT-level emissions controls to reduce emissions of NOx and SO2.

  • NOx Emission Limitations and Controls

The settlement requires the installation and continuous operation of a selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) unit to control NOx emissions.  While the plant is required to conduct testing in order to set a final NOx limit after the CD is entered, CPC is required to meet a final 30-day rolling average emissions rate of no greater than 2.5 lb of NOx per ton of clinker produced. 

  • (SO2) Emission Limitations and Controls

The settlement will require the installation and continuous operation of a lime injection system (LIS).  While the plant is required to conduct testing in order to set a final (SO2) limit after the Decree is entered, CPC is required to meet a 30-day rolling average emission rate of no greater than 1.7 lb (SO2) per ton of clinker produced.  

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Pollutant Reductions

  • NOx emissions are expected to be reduced by more than 1,200 tons per year
  • (SO2) emissions are expected to be reduced by more than 360 tons per year

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Health and Environmental Effects

NOx and (SO2) have adverse effects on human health and the environment as discussed below:

  • Nitrogen Oxides-- NOx can cause or contribute to a variety of health problems and adverse environmental impacts, such as ground-level ozone, acid rain, global warming, water quality deterioration, and visual impairment.  Affected populations include children, people with lung diseases such as asthma, and exposure to these conditions can cause damage to lung tissue for people who work or exercise outside.
  • Sulfur Dioxide -- High concentrations of (SO2) can affect breathing and may aggravate existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease.  Sensitive populations include asthmatics, individuals with bronchitis or emphysema, children, and the elderly.  (SO2) is also a primary contributor to acid deposition, or acid rain.

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Civil Penalty

CPC will pay a total penalty of $1.4 million to the United States for violations resolved in the Decree. 

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For more information, contact:

Melanie Shepherdson, Attorney
Air Enforcement Division
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW MC 2242A
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-8386

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