News Releases from Region 09
U.S. EPA Requires Guardian Industries Corp. to Cut Harmful Air Pollution at Glass Manufacturing Plants in Seven States
LOS ANGELES--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice today announced a settlement with Guardian Industries Corp. that will resolve a Clean Air Act enforcement action involving Guardian's flat glass manufacturing facilities throughout the United States.
Under the proposed settlement, Guardian will make an investment of more than $70 million to install air pollution control equipment so that at all of its facilities will have the proper controls to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOX), sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM) and sulfuric acid mist (H2SO4). Guardian has also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $312,000.
In addition, Guardian will fund an environmental mitigation project valued at $150,000 to reduce particulate matter pollution in the San Joaquin Valley in California. This special project with the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District will provide incentives to low-income residents living in the San Joaquin Valley to replace or retrofit inefficient, higher-polluting wood-burning stoves and fireplaces with cleaner-burning, more energy-efficient appliances.
"Residents of the San Joaquin Valley are faced with some of the worst air pollution in the country," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "This settlement will help the Valley by replacing wood burning appliances with cleaner-burning ones, and by reducing fine particulate emissions from the company's Kingsburg plant."
The Kingsburg facility, located 20 miles southeast of Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley, has been operating with advanced air pollution controls since 2008. Under today's settlement, the Kingsburg facility will optimize the performance of its NOx controls and comply with stricter permit limits to further reduce emissions. EPA estimates that the work completed under today's settlement will result in approximately 35,000 pounds of NOx reductions annually in the San Joaquin Valley.
EPA expects that the pollution controls required by the settlement will reduce harmful emissions nationwide by more than 7,300 tons per year, including more than 6,400 tons per year of NOx, more than 550 tons per year of SO2, more than 200 tons per year of PM and more than 140 tons of H2SO4.
"This settlement is a great example of a cooperative, company-wide effort to reduce air pollution and will mean cleaner air for communities across the country, where glass manufacturing is currently a significant source of the air pollutants that cause serious lung and heart problems," said Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "We are also particularly grateful to the states of Iowa and New York, as well as the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, all of whom were active partners in achieving this important outcome for the American people."
Today's settlement resolves allegations that Guardian violated the federal Clean Air Act and state air pollution control plans when it made unpermitted major modifications to its flat glass furnaces that significantly increased harmful air emissions. This settlement is part of EPA's ongoing National Enforcement Initiative addressing Clean Air Act New Source Review and Prevention of Significant Deterioration program violations, and is the agency's first settlement involving the flat glass manufacturing sector. Flat glass, also known as float glass, is used for windows in office buildings and homes, as well as for automobile windshields.
SO2 and NOX have numerous adverse effects on human health and are significant contributors to acid rain, smog, and haze. Once airborne, these pollutants can also convert into particulate matter. PM, especially the fine particles, can travel deep into a person's lungs causing severe respiratory impacts, such as coughing, decreased lung function, and chronic bronchitis. Fine PM is also associated with cardiovascular impacts and even premature death. H2SO4 irritates the skin, eyes, nose and throat and lungs, and exposure to high concentrations can lead to more severe health impacts.
The emissions reductions as a result of today's settlement will yield significant human health and environmental benefits for the communities in Kingsburg, Calif., DeWitt, Iowa, Carleton, Mich., Geneva, N.Y., Floreffe, Penn., Richburg, S.C., and Corsicana, Texas, where Guardian's manufacturing facilities are located.
The proposed consent decree was lodged today in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.
For more information on the settlement or to read a copy of the consent decree, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/guardian-industries-corp-clean-air-act-settlement
For more information on the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District's Burn Cleaner Program, visit: http://valleyair.org/grants/burncleaner.htm