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Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results FY2008:
Air Enforcement Case Highlights

Civil Enforcement Cases || Criminal Enforcement Cases

Air pollution threatens human health and damages the environment. EPA continues to enforce our nation's environmental laws and to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act nationwide, making our air cleaner. While often invisible, pollutants in the air create smog and acid rain and cause cancer or other serious health effects. Air pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulates addressed by these settlements can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma. As a result of cases concluded in fiscal year 2008, an estimated 1,654 million pounds of air pollution will be reduced, eliminated or properly managed and estimated investments in environmental improvement projects from parties worth nearly 4.8 billion dollars are required.

Civil Enforcement Cases

Criminal Enforcement Cases


Additional Information on our National Priorities

Civil Enforcement Cases

Coal/Gas-Fired Electric Utilities - New Source Review (NSR) Regulation

Since 1999, EPA and the Department of Justice have filed numerous lawsuits against coal-fired electric utilities, alleging that these companies made major modifications to their plants without installing equipment to control pollution that causes smog, acid rain and soot and that contributes to severe respiratory problems and childhood asthma in violation of the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act. Coal-fired plants release sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides, which are a primary cause of acid rain that harms trees and lakes and impairs visibility. Nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides cause severe respiratory problems, contribute to childhood asthma, and contribute to smog and haze. Emissions from power plants can drift significant distances downwind and degrade air quality in nearby areas. [More Information]

The following is a major case concluded in fiscal year 2008:

American Electric Power (AEP) Settlement

The United States, eight states, and 13 citizen groups announced a settlement agreement with American Electric Power (AEP) under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review provisions. The settlement obtains relief at 16 of AEP’s coal-fired power plants (46 units) located in 5 states: Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. By several measures this is the single largest environmental enforcement settlement to date. It is estimated that AEP will spend more than $4.6 billion to comply with the terms of the Consent Decree. Upon full implementation, the settlement will reduce at least 813,000 tons per year of air pollution from AEP’s 16 power plants. The $15 million penalty is the highest paid by any electric utility in settlement of an New Source Review case. AEP also committed $60 million to environmental mitigation projects. This settlement with AEP represents the fourteenth judicial settlement under the power plants enforcement effort. [More Information]

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New Source Review (NSR) Requirements for Cement, Acid Plants, Glass

In addition to continuing its efforts to ensure coal-fired power plants comply with the NSR program requirements, EPA identified acid, glass, and cement manufacturing sectors as national enforcement priorities. These sectors can contribute significant amounts of pollutants to the atmosphere.

The following are major cases concluded in fiscal year 2008:

Cement Manufacturing Sector

St. Mary’s Cement

EPA reached settlement with St. Mary’s Cement, a Portland cement manufacturing facility near Dixon, Illinois. The company agreed to install state-of-the-art pollution controls to reduce harmful air emissions and pay an $800,000 civil penalty. The injunctive relief will reduce combined emissions of smog-forming nitrogen oxides by approximately 2,700 tons per year. [More Information]

Acid Manufacturing Sector

DuPont

EPA reached settlement with E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. (Du Pont) for four sulfuric acid production plants in Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. Du Pont will spend at least $66 million on air pollution controls and pay a civil penalty of $4.125 million. The settlement will reduce harmful sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 13,000 tons per year. [More Information]

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Enforcement of Violations at Petroleum Refineries

Enforcement of violations at petroleum refineries have proved to be one of the largest, most comprehensive and successful enforcement and compliance national priorities ever undertaken by EPA. EPA's investigations of petroleum refineries focused on the four most significant Clean Air Act compliance challenges for the industry and the emissions units that are the source of most of their pollution: New Source Review/Prevention of Significant Deterioration - fluidized catalytic cracking units, heaters and boilers; New Source Performance Standards – flares, sulfur recovery units, fuel gas combustion devices (including heaters and boilers); Leak Detection and Repair requirements; and Benzene National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants. EPA selected refineries as a national priority because of the high rate of violations and rate of air emissions from petroleum refineries. Since March 2000, EPA has entered into 22 settlements with U.S. companies that refine nearly 87 percent of the Nation’s petroleum refining capacity. These “global” settlements (i.e., a comprehensive, multi-issue company-wide Consent Decree) cover 96 refineries in 28 states and on full implementation will result in annual emissions reductions of more than 86,000 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and more than 245,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2). Since meeting the primary goal of covering 85% of the refining industry in fiscal year 2007, EPA has actively continued to engage the remaining refiners that have not yet resolved violations, to ensure a “level playing field” throughout this sector. [More Information]

The following are major cases concluded in fiscal year 2008:

Valero Energy Corporation

The settlement with Valero Corporation covers the refineries it acquired following the merger with Premcor Refining Company. The acquisition consisted of three refineries in Memphis, Tennessee, Lima, Ohio and Port Arthur, Texas with productions of over 650,000 thousand barrels of oil/day (approximately 4 percent of U.S. domestic refining capacity). The settlement will result in a NOx reduction of more than 1,870 tons per year, SO2 reductions of more than 1,810 tons per year and requires more than $232 million in new controls. [More Information]

Hunt Refining Company

Hunt Refining Company operates three refineries in Sandersville and Lumberton, Mississippi, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama which produce approximately 70,000 thousand barrels of oil/day (less than 1 percent of U.S. domestic refining capacity). The settlement with Hunt will result in NOx reductions of about 150 tons per year, SO2 reductions of about 1,100 tons per year, and requires more than $48 million in new controls. [More Information]

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Mobile Sources

Mobile source pollutants include smog-forming volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, toxic air pollutants such as cancer-causing benzene, and particulate matter or “soot” that cause asthma and other respiratory illnesses. EPA enforces the Clean Air Act provisions governing motor vehicles and engines, including emissions standards for manufacturers of new motor vehicles, passenger cars and light trucks, and heavy duty motor vehicle engines. Additionally, the provisions govern non-road engines such as those used in marine vessels, locomotives, construction equipment, lawn and garden equipment and recreational vehicles. The requirements are designed to limit harmful emissions from these vehicles when they are running and evaporative emissions when they are not. [More Information]

The following is a major case concluded in fiscal year 2008:

Jenn Feng Industrial Co., Ltd. (Jenn Feng)

EPA reached settlement with Jenn Feng, a Taiwanese manufacturer, and three American corporations; MTD Southwest of Tucson, Arizona, MTD Products of Cleveland, Ohio, and McCulloch Corporation of Santa Fe Springs, California, to resolve Clean Air Act violations arising from the importation of approximately 200,000 chainsaws that failed to meet federal air pollution standards. The violations at issue in this case resulted in the emission of approximately 268 excess tons of hydrocarbon emissions. The settlement requires the defendants to spend $5 million to implement environmentally beneficial mitigation projects and pay a civil penalty of $2 million, the largest civil penalty assessed to date for violations of the non-road regulations. The projects include installation of streetlights with light-emitting diodes (LED) in selected cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 11,460 tons and reduce energy consumption. Defendants will also install low-permeable fuel lines in at least one million engines used in lawn and garden equipment to reduce hydrocarbon emissions by about 1,000 tons. They are additionally required to purchase nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions allowances and surrender them to EPA to prevent approximately 1,470 tons of NOx emissions represented by those allowances from ever entering the environment. [More Information]

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Acid Rain Requirements

Compliance with the Clean Air Act's Title IV acid rain program is integral to ensuring reduction of sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. EPA will be focusing on non-compliance with all the elements of the acid rain program.

East Kentucky Power Cooperative

East Kentucky Power Cooperative, a coal-fired electric utility, agreed to pay an $11.4 million penalty to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act’s acid rain provision. This penalty amount represents the highest fine ever under the Clean Air Act's acid rain program. The Commonwealth of Kentucky joined in the Consent Decree. The settlement requires that the company take steps to reduce approximately 400 tons of harmful emissions each year and offset another approximately 20,000 tons of emissions released from its Clark County, Kentucky, facility without a permit. [More Information]

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Criminal Enforcement Cases

Illegal Asbestos Removal

Asbestos is a carcinogen, and exposure can result in serious or fatal respiratory diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestos is commonly used in thermal insulation, fireproofing and other building materials. When asbestos-containing materials become damaged or disturbed, the fibers separate and may become airborne and inhaled into the lungs. EPA requires anyone disturbing building materials that may contain asbestos to keep the materials wet in order to prevent the fibers from becoming airborne.

The following are major cases concluded in fiscal year 2008:

Cleve Allen George

Cleve Allen George, the owner of the Virgin Islands Asbestos Removal, Co., received 33 months in prison for multiple Clean Air Act convictions for illegal removal of asbestos-containing material at a low- income housing project and making false statements to federal agencies about air quality monitoring at the site. George was also sentenced to 3 years of supervised release and required to pay for baseline X-rays for exposed workers. [More Information]

Christopher M. Hernandez

Christopher Hernandez was sentenced to serve five years in prison after pleading guilty in Utah state court to one count of unlawful handling or disposal of asbestos, a third-degree state felony. Hernandez was also ordered by the court to have his state asbestos license revoked and was further prohibited from obtaining any licenses dealing with asbestos handling.

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Toxic Releases

Toxic air pollutants, also known as hazardous air pollutants, are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, and adverse environmental effects. Regulated facilities have permits which limit the amount of allowable emissions of these pollutants. Examples of toxic air pollutants include benzene, perchlorethlyene, methylene chloride, toluene, and metals such as cadmium, mercury, chromium, and lead compounds.

The following is a major case concluded in fiscal year 2008:

Michael Joe Clark

Michael Joe Clark was sentenced to 37 months incarceration and three years probation after pleading guilty to one count of attempted theft of anhydrous ammonia and one count of negligently causing an extremely hazardous substance to be released into the ambient air, thereby negligently placing another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. Anhydrous ammonia is toxic and can cause severe respiratory problems. It was released into the air during Clark’s attempted theft of a thousand gallon tank of anhydrous ammonia from a coal company. Several fire fighters were injured while responding to the release. Clark was also sentenced to pay $8,816 restitution for emergency response costs incurred by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, local fire department, as well as property damage to the coal company’s equipment. [More Information]

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