US Cabot fined $975,000 by EPA, agrees to cut emissions

19 November 2013 19:16  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Cabot has entered into a consent decree with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in which it has agreed to control its air emissions and pay a civil fine of $975,000 (€721,500), the carbon black producer and the agency announced on Tuesday.

Cabot will reduce its emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter from its Franklin and Ville Platte plants in Louisiana, and its Pampa, Texas, plant, both parties said.

Doing so will require installing $85m in control technologies over six-and-a-half years, Cabot said, adding that it will be looking for ways “to recover the impact of this investment over time”.

Cabot also has agreed with the EPA to invest about $450,000 towards environmental mitigation projects focused on energy efficiency in the communities where the three carbon black plants are located.

In a complaint filed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on behalf of the EPA, the government said Cabot made major modifications at its carbon black facilities between 2003-2009 without obtaining pre-construction permits and without installing and operating required pollution technology.

The complaint said the actions led to increased emissions of NOx and SO2, violating Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements stating that companies must obtain the necessary permits before making modifications at a facility and must install and operate required pollution control equipment if those modifications would result in increases of certain pollutants.

Cabot did not acknowledge any noncompliance with CAA emission standards as part of the agreement, the company said.

“This agreement will remove uncertainty and enable a more consistent approach to our manufacturing strategy,” said Patrick Prevost, Cabot president and CEO. “As the first party in our industry sector to come to an agreement with the EPA, we also believe this will set the standard for the entire US carbon black industry.”

Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said: “With [Tuesday’s] commitment to invest in pollution controls, Cabot has raised the industry standard for environmental protection.

“These upgrades will have lasting, tangible impacts on improved respiratory health for local communities. We expect others in the industry to take notice and realise their obligation to protect the communities in which they operate.”

By: Jeremy Pafford
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