Air Enforcement Case Highlights
Although often invisible, air pollution threatens both human health and the environment. It can cause cancer and damage immune, respiratory and neurological systems, and create acid rain and smog. EPA makes our air cleaner by enforcing the Clean Air Act. As a result of cases EPA concluded in fiscal year 2009, 253,454,814 million pounds of air pollution will be reduced, eliminated or properly managed. Required investments in environmental improvement projects are worth 1.2 billion dollars. The air pollutants being reduced through these settlements – such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates – are known causes of serious respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma.
View civil air enforcement case information by location. Zoom in a few times to pinpoint the exact location of a facility. Click on the location indicator to obtain additional information on the environmental enforcement case at that facility. See "Questions About the Maps" for additional information. You may also see summaries of selected air enforcement cases below the map.
- Coal/Gas-Fired Electric Utilities - New Source Review (NSR) Regulation
- Enforcement of Violations at Petroleum Refineries
- Requirements for Cement, Acid, and Glass
Additional Information on our National Priorities
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 the necessary pollution controls, in violation of the New Source Review (NSR) provisions of the Clean Air Act. Coal-fired plants release substantial quantities of pollutants, including sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are primary causes of acid rain that harms trees and lakes and impairs visibility. Coal-fired power plants produce two-thirds of the nation’s SO2 emissions and one third of the nation’s NOx emissions. SO2 and NOx also cause severe respiratory problems and contribute to childhood asthma. In addition, emissions from power plants can travel downwind significant distances, contributing to regional smog and haze and degrading air quality.
EPA’s actions against the coal-fired electric utility industry have been, and remain, an enforcement priority for the Agency. As a result of this enforcement initiative, EPA has secured approximately $11 billion in cleanup controls and other injunctive relief, $175 million in environmental mitigation projects, and $62 million in civil penalties. Upon full implementation, these actions will reduce SO2 and NOx emissions by roughly 2 million tons each year. [More Information]
Coal-Fired Electric Utility cases concluded in fiscal year 2009:
The Petroleum Refining Initiative has proven 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 24 settlements with United States companies that refine nearly 88 percent of the nation’s petroleum refining capacity. These “global” settlements (i.e., a comprehensive, multi-issue company-wide Consent Decree) cover 99 refineries in 29 states and on full implementation will result in annual emissions reductions of more than 87,000 tons of NOx and more than 250,000 tons of SO2. Since meeting the primary goal of covering 80% 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 major refinery cases concluded in fiscal year 2009:
The settlement with Frontier Refining covers the two refineries owned and operated by Frontier, which are located in Cheyenne, Wyoming and El Dorado, Kansas, with a total refining capacity of approximately 156,000 barrels per day. The settlement requires more than $127 million in new controls and will result in NOx reductions of more than 2,089 tons per year and SO2 reductions of nearly 3,000 tons per year, as well as additional reductions of volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. [More Information]
Wyoming Refining Company
Wyoming Refining Company operates a single refinery in Newcastle, Wyoming which refines approximately 12,500 thousand barrels of oil per day. The settlement with Wyoming Refining will result in NOx reductions of about 20 tons per year, SO2 reductions of about 788 tons per year, and requires more than $14 million in new controls. [More Information]
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.
St. Mary’s Cement
On September 9, 2008, EPA announced a 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]
CEMEX Victorville, CA
On January 15, 2009, EPA announced a settlement with CEMEX California Cement LLC (CEMEX) with respect to the company’s Victorville, California, cement plant. The settlement resolves claims asserted in a 2007 complaint that CEMEX violated PSD when they undertook projects in 1997 and 2000. CEMEX agreed to meet an emission limit of 1.95 lb. NOx/ton of clinker at their two cement kilns. These NOx limits are among the lowest cement kiln limits in the United States. The emission control systems coupled with these emission limits will reduce NOx emissions by 1,890 tons per year, a nearly 40 percent reduction. CEMEX also agreed to emission limits for SO2 and carbon monoxide (CO) at one of their two kilns. The SO2 and CO limits are not expected to reduce emissions but will hold emissions at the already low levels. CEMEX will also pay a $2 million civil penalty. [More Information]
On January 12, 2009, EPA announced a settlement with Chemtrade Logistics, Inc., Chemtrade Refining Services, Inc. and Marslex, Inc. regarding Clean Air Act violations at eight sulfuric acid plants. The companies will spend at least $12 million on air pollution controls that are expected to eliminate more than 3,000 tons of harmful emissions annually from eight production plants at six facilities in Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. The companies will pay a $700,000 civil penalty and perform two state supplemental environmental projects. [More Information]
On April 20, 2009, DuPont and Lucite International Inc. agreed to pay a $2 million civil penalty to settle Clean Air Act violations at a sulfuric acid plant in Belle, West Virginia. The companies chose on their own to shut down the sulfuric acid manufacturing unit of a larger chemical facility at the site and the settlement confirms this agreement. Under the settlement, the sulfuric acid unit is scheduled to shut down by April 1, 2010. [More Information]