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EPA cites Stone Container for clean-air violations

Release Date: 5/20/2005
Contact Information: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA069

CHICAGO (May 20, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited Stone Container Corp. for alleged clean-air violations at the company's corrugated paper mill at One Superior Way, Ontonagon, Mich.

EPA alleges that Stone Container emitted excessive amounts of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide from its steam-generating boiler. In addition, EPA alleges the company violated notification, testing, monitoring and reporting requirements of the Clean Air Act.

EPA also cited Stone Container for making a major modification to its boiler without first getting a permit that would prevent deterioration of air quality. EPA alleges the plant continues to violate regulations by operating the boiler without best available technology to control its pollutants.

"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act."

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. The company has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

Exposure to sulfur dioxide can impair breathing, aggravate existing respiratory diseases like bronchitis and reduce the ability of the lungs to clear foreign particles. Sulfur dioxide can cause acid rain and contribute to fine particle pollution. Children, the elderly and people with heart and lung conditions are the most sensitive to sulfur dioxide.

Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants is baked in the hot summer sun. Smog can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing and wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health concerns are important to everyone.

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