FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2002
DOJ (202) 514-2007
EPA (202) 564-7818
U.S. AND BOISE CASCADE REACH CLEAN AIR ACT SETTLEMENT;
WOOD PRODUCTS INDUSTRY NEW SOURCE REVIEW CASE SETTLED
Air Pollution To Be Reduced By 95 Percent
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency today announced a comprehensive Clean Air Act (CAA) agreement with wood products industry giant Boise Cascade Corporation that will require reductions of up to 95 percent of the harmful emissions from the company's eight plywood and particle board plants. The plants are located in Oregon, Washington, Louisiana and Idaho.
The United States claims that Boise Cascade has modified and expanded its panel board operations over the past two decades without installing the proper air pollution control equipment to reduce harmful emissions as required by the Prevention of Significant Deteriotaion (PSD) regulations under the new source review provisions of the federal CAA and state rules. PSD regulations apply in areas where air quality is good and are intended to keep the air in compliance with national air quality standards.
This is the fifth case against a major wood products producer to be settled as part of EPA's wood products initiative, which started in the late 1980s and was the first industry-wide effort to enforce new source review under the CAA. The success of this initiative demonstrates EPA's determination to achieve nationwide compliance across industry sectors. EPA will continue to investigate CAA compliance at smaller facilities and to work with the states to quickly resolve any uncovered violations.
The new source review program is designed to prevent deterioration of our nation's air quality, requiring newly constructed or modified sources of air pollution, such as electric utilities and wood products factories, to obtain permits and install air pollution control equipment to reduce their emissions prior to construction or modification.
"This settlement is one of a dozen national settlements in the past several years to enforce the new source review provisions of the Clean Air Act across the wood products, petroleum refining, steel mini-mill and coal fired utility industries, and sends the message that we will be tenacious in our enforcement efforts," said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "Boise Cascade's willingness to settle the case will help improve human health and the environment in the communities near its plants."
"Our nation's air quality continues to improve. This Administration and our state and local partners will protect those gains so that all Americans have air that is healthy and safe to breathe. We continue to pursue violations of our Clean Air Act permitting programs, which are critical to achieving our national air quality goals," said Sylvia Lowrance, Acting Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
A consent decree filed today requires Boise Cascade to install state-of-the-art air pollution control equipment at an estimated cost of $15 million over the next three years at its Medford and Elgin, Ore., operations, and the Florien and Oakdale plants in Louisiana. In addition, the company must select one of three pollution control options to reduce volatile organic compound emissions (VOCs) from its particle board facility in Island City, Ore. The company will also pay $4.35 million in civil penalties and has agreed to spend another $2.9 million in supplemental controls to reduce emissions at the Yakima and Kettle Falls, Wash., plants, and to control certain units at the Medford, Ore., plywood facility. The state of Louisiana joined in the settlement and will receive a $250,000 share in the penalties.
The settlement is expected to reduce emissions of VOCs and particulate matter by an estimated 2,166 tons per year. VOCs are linked with the formation of ground level ozone, or smog, and VOCs and particulate matter are known to contribute to respiratory illnesses, especially in children and the elderly.
The settlement with Boise Cascade comes two years after EPA issued its first notice of violation to the company in March 2000. Today's agreement is the fifth effort by EPA and the states to ensure the wood products industry complies with major CAA permitting requirements. The United States has previously reached settlements with Louisiana-Pacific (1993), Georgia Pacific (1996), Weyerhaeuser (1995) and Willamette Industries (2000).
The consent decree was filed in the U.S. District Court of Oregon in Portland and is subject to a 30-day public comment period.
The settlement involves the following facilities:
Emmett, Idaho (now closed)
Island City, Ore.
White City, Ore. ("Rogue Valley" facility)
Kettle Falls, Wash.