WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency have reached a major Clean Air Act (CAA) settlement with Lucite International, Inc. (Lucite) requiring the chemical manufacturer to install pollution controls on three emission sources at its Memphis, Tennessee plant, which will eliminate 6,500 tons of pollution each year. Under the terms of the settlement announced today, Lucite will install an estimated $16 million worth of new pollution controls, in addition to paying a civil penalty of $1.8 million and performing a supplemental environmental project worth $1.3 million.
The federal government alleged that the company violated CAA provisions of the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs), and the Protection of Stratospheric Ozone. Today’s settlement resolves allegations that the company violated the CAA at its Memphis facility.
“The settlement announced today demonstrates our commitment to aggressively enforcing the laws that protect our environment and our citizens,” said Kelly A. Johnson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This agreement will significantly improve the air quality for the people of Tennessee.”
Lucite will install a $16 million dual absorption control system on its Sulfuric Acid Regeneration Unit, which will result in the elimination of approximately 2,500 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions per year, to comply with NSPS standards.
In addition, Lucite will implement a supplemental environmental project to reroute emissions from two other plant emission sources. This will result in a 90% reduction of previously permitted emissions from these sources. Implementation of this project will cost Lucite approximately $1.3 million.
“The people of Tennessee and others downwind of this facility will soon benefit from this settlement,” said Granta Y. Nakayama, Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Reducing harmful emissions from Lucite’s Memphis facility is a major step toward achieving cleaner air.”
“As a result of the settlement, Lucite will reduce emissions of pollutants that contribute to acid rain, cause severe respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma, which are of great concern to EPA,” said Jimmy Palmer, EPA Regional Administrator in Atlanta.
Lucite is a subsidiary of Lucite International, Ltd.-a chemical manufacturing company headquartered in Southampton, UK-and is the world’s leading supplier of methacrylates. Lucite’s Memphis plant produces methyl methacrylate and acrylic sheeting. The pollutants addressed in the settlement are sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid mist, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds.
The settlement lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval before becoming final.
A copy of the consent decree lodged today is available on the Department of Justice website at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/open.html.