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EPA cites Domtar for clean-air violations

Release Date: 12/19/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254

No. 05-OPA266

EPA cites Domtar for clean-air violations
CHICAGO (Dec. 19, 2005) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited Domtar Industries Inc. for alleged clean-air violations at the company's pulp mill at 100 Wisconsin River Drive, Port Edwards, Wis.

EPA alleges that Domtar has failed to comply with its state operating permit and the Clean Air Act by emitting excessive quantities of methanol, a hazardous air pollutant, from its pulp production processes.

"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Regional Administrator Thomas V. Skinner. "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. Domtar has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

Short-term exposure to methanol may result in visual problems, such as blurred or dimness of vision, leading to blindness. Long-term exposure may result in conjunctivitis, headache, giddiness, insomnia, gastric disturbances, impaired vision and blindness.

Methanol is also a volatile organic compound that contributes 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, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health problems are important to everyone.

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