TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Three manufacturers of sulfuric acid have agreed to spend at least $12 million on air pollution controls expected to eliminate harmful emissions from six production plants in Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department announced.
Chemtrade Logistics, Chemtrade Refinery Services and Marsulex also will pay a civil penalty of $700,000 under the Clean Air Act settlement.
"The companies are expected to reduce harmful air pollution by an estimated 3,000 tons per year, which is well over half of their annual emissions" said Granta Y. Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Today's settlement will improve air quality for millions of people."
The settlement is the third nationwide compliance agreement in a Clean Air Act initiative under which the Justice Department and EPA expect to reach similar agreements with other sulfuric acid manufacturers.
The first and second nationwide sulfuric acid compliance agreements were announced in 2007 with Rhodia Inc. and Dupont.
The government's complaint, filed with the consent decree, alleges that Chemtrade and Marsulex 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 any pollutant.
Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and the Northern Arapaho Tribe joined the federal government in the agreement.
Of the total penalty, $460,000 will be paid to the federal government and $240,000 will be paid to the three states.