US SABIC plastics unit to pay $6m in environmental settlement

31 May 2012 23:07  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--SABIC Innovative Plastics has agreed to pay a $1m (€810,000) fine and spend more than $5m to improve emissions controls at two US plants as part of a settlement to dispose of alleged environmental violations, US officials said on Thursday.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleged that two SABIC Innovative Plastics (SABIC-IP) facilities committed a total of 15 violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) by failing to monitor and repair leaking equipment, causing “fugitive emissions” of air pollutants.

The SABIC-IP plants involved in the settlement are located at Mt Vernon, Indiana, and Burkville, Alabama.

In addition to the $1m civil penalty, SABIC-IP agreed to implement a comprehensive programme to reduce fugitive emissions from leaking equipment such as valves and pumps.

Fugitive emissions are so named because they are not discharged from a stack or other exhaust systems but rather leak from process equipment.

The settlement requires that SABIC-IP spend approximately $5.3m to implement enhanced work practices, including more frequent leak monitoring, and better repair practices at the two facilities to prevent further leaks.

A spokeswoman for SABIC-IP said that the company's Indiana and Alabama plants were among several of its US manufacturing sites that were the subject of routine compliance audits initiated by EPA in 2005. 

"The EPA inspections broadly evaluated environmental compliance status, which was found to be very good in most areas," said Susan LeBourdais. 

"However, they revealed concerns in air compliance programs at two of the sites that we acquired in 2007. The company immediately began to address the concerns following the inspections and, in addition, implemented further programs to ensure full compliance going forward," she said.

($1 = €0.81)

By: Joe Kamalick
+1 713 525 2653

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