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Westvaco Corp. Pays $118,000 for Air Pollution Violations at Springfield Plant

Release Date: 01/16/2002
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1013

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice today announced a settlement with Westvaco Corporation over excess air emissions at the company's Springfield plant. Under a consent decree lodged Jan. 15, Westvaco will pay a penalty of $117,910, and as part of the settlement has also retired air emissions credits worth $36,000 to $75,000.

"Air pollution across New England is a serious health problem for our citizens," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "Making sure industrial sources are meeting their permit limits for air emissions is one way we're going to improve that. I'm glad Westvaco has cooperated and will be eliminating future emissions."

From January 1998 through August 2000, Westvaco's Springfield facility violated its permit's emissions limits for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) on 113 separate days. VOCs are one component that creates ground-level ozone (or smog). The VOC emissions came from a coating line in the flexible packaging division of the plant. For independent business reasons, in 2001 Westvaco shut down the coating line, eliminating the source of the violations.

Under the settlement, Westvaco will pay $117,910. In addition, Westvaco has permanently retired VOC emissions credits gained as a result of shutting down the coating line. Under a Massachusetts statewide program approved by EPA, Westvaco could have otherwise sold the credits to other companies who could have used the credits to emit 15 tons of VOCs per year into the air. By permanently retiring the credits, Westvaco has ensured the elimination of these VOCs and has provided restitution for the company's past excess emissions. The credits are valued at $36,000 to $75,000.

The enforcement case was prompted by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP"), who recommended that EPA investigate Westvaco's VOC emissions as part of a general EPA drive to test sources for VOC compliance. EPA and DEP worked together closely throughout the case's development and settlement negotiations.