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Rocky Mountain Steel Mills and EPA Settle Clean Air Act Claims

Release Date: 4/9/2003
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Release Date: 4/9/2003
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Release Date: 4/9/2003
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      DENVER, April 9, 2003 - Rocky Mountain Steel Mills will invest $25 million to modernize its Pueblo, Colo., facility and pay a $450,000 penalty under a federal consent decree filed today to settle air pollution charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The modernization will cut air pollution from the mill by approximately 50 percent. Under the settlement agreement, the company will spend another $435,000 on environmental projects in the local community.

RMSM, formerly known as CF&I Steel, will install upgrades and pollution control equipment over the next two years. The largest project will be nearly $25 million in improvements to the mill’s furnace and emission control equipment that will significantly reduce air pollution and increase energy efficiency. In addition, the company will invest more than $1 million to improve the mill’s reheat furnaces.

After all projects are completed, the expected annual reductions of particulate matter emissions will be about 100 tons, including 800 pounds of lead. In addition, 750 tons of carbon monoxide, 200 tons of sulfur dioxide and 130 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions will be reduced annually. These pollutants can contribute to respiratory disorders such as asthma and reduced lung capacity, and could adversely affect the heart, brain and nervous system. They can also damage ecosystems and reduce visibility.

As part of the settlement agreement, RMSM will carry out several environmental projects in partnership with various private and public organizations in the Pueblo community. Four of these projects focus on education, improved medical care and case management for people with asthma. A fifth will focus on lead-hazard education and lead removal in low-income neighborhoods.

According to Carol Rushin, enforcement director for EPA in Denver, the consent decree is the result of extensive cooperation among EPA, the State of Colorado and RMSM. “We have spent a lot of time working together to reach this agreement and are particularly happy with Rocky Mountain Steel’s commitment to reduce emissions and to improve the health and overall quality of life in the local community,” said Rushin.

EPA alleged that modifications made at the Pueblo mill over the past two decades violated Prevention of Significant Deterioration requirements. "PSD rules help to ensure economic growth is balanced with preserving existing clean air resources," Rushin remarked. EPA also alleged violations of technology-based standards for new sources of pollution.

This federal consent decree expands upon and supports a similar agreement reached last April between RMSM and the State of Colorado to control pollution at the facility.