Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice
ENRD (202) 514-2007
EPA (202) 564-7842


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency today announced a landmark Clean Air Act settlement with grain industry giant Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), which will cover operations at 52 plants in 16 states and cost the company an estimated $340 million. The settlement is the result of an unprecedented joint federal and state enforcement effort with 14 state and county entities signing onto the consent decree. Under the settlement, ADM will implement sweeping environmental improvements at plants nationwide that will eliminate at least 63,000 tons of air pollution a year.

ADM is a multi-national agribusiness based in Decatur, Ill., that owns and operates facilities across the nation which process corn, wheat, soybeans, and other oilseeds into value-added products used in the food, feed, ethanol and other industries. The manufacturing processes at ADM’s plants result in emissions of significant quantities of regulated air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).

Under the settlement, ADM will install state-of-the-art controls on a large number of units, shut down some of the oldest, dirtiest units, and take emission limits on others. Additionally, ADM’s oilseed operations will accept new, more stringent emission limits for VOC and HAP emissions - limits the regulators expect will set new standards for the industry.

“The Justice Department is fulfilling its promise to enforce our nation’s clean air standards,” said Attorney General John Ashcroft. “Americans deserve clean air to breathe, and we all benefit when organizations make the right decisions and bring their facilities into compliance with our environmental laws and regulations.”

“This landmark Clean Air Act case will help make our air cleaner now and for future generations. These industry emissions have been underestimated in the past, and we have put forth this unprecedented effort to rectify that,” said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. “This company stepped forward to work with state and federal regulators to achieve our shared goal of environmental compliance.”

The United States and its co-plaintiffs alleged that ADM failed to accurately estimate its emissions from hundreds of process units, and expanded other units without the installation of required air pollution control technology, violating the Clean Air Act. The complaints, filed today in federal district court in Illinois, allege that these ADM plants are major sources of air pollution. The complaints explain that these plants are subject to the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review (NSR) and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) requirements, as well as the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) of the Act. As such, they were required to install air pollution controls to reduce emissions and to get the appropriate preconstruction and operating permits. This is the first major NSR/PSD settlement involving the grain and oilseed processing industry.

Co-plaintiffs include the states of Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Texas; the Iowa counties of Linn and Polk, as well as the Nebraska county of Lancaster.

EPA estimates that ADM will spend $340 million over a 10-year period to implement the entire injunctive relief package, which includes $213 million for capital improvements such as air pollution control equipment. ADM will also fund extensive environmental audits at all facilities, continuous emission monitoring, operation and maintenance, as well as an environmental management system that will assist the company and regulators in tracking compliance with the consent decree.

In addition, ADM will pay a civil penalty of $4.6 million that will be shared with the co-plaintiffs, and will spend $6.3 million on supplemental environmental projects. Much of the supplemental money will be spent on retrofitting diesel engines in school buses, to result in significant reductions of air emissions from those mobile sources.

The consent decree was lodged with the federal district court in the Central District of Illinois. It will be subject to a 30-day public comment period before it can be entered by the court.