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WASHINGTON, DC-The Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the State of Missouri today announced a civil settlement with the Golden Triangle Energy, LLC, ethanol plant in Craig, Missouri for alleged Clean Air Act violations. The settlement mandates reductions in air pollution, including volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, from this ethanol manufacturing facility. This is the sixteenth settlement the Justice Department and the EPA have reached with a company in the ethanol industry. The settlement is set forth in a consent decree filed in the federal court in Missouri.

The United States and Missouri allege that the facility was operating in violation of the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review (NSR) provisions. The Clean Air Act’s NSR program requires a source to install pollution controls and undertake other pre-construction obligations to control air pollution emissions when there is new construction. Golden Triangle constructed its facility in 2002.

The agreement announced today requires the plant to install air pollution control equipment that will greatly reduce air emissions of pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO). In addition to contributing to ground-level ozone (smog), VOCs can cause serious health problems such as cancer and other effects; CO is harmful because it reduces oxygen delivery to the body’s organs and tissues. The settlement will result in annual reductions of 150 tons of VOCs, 12 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 20 tons of particulate matter (PM), 70 tons of CO, and 15 tons of hazardous air pollutants.

“This consent decree demonstrates our commitment to the reduction of harmful pollutants from ethanol plants, and shows that we will work to ensure a level playing field within the industry by preventing violators from gaining a competitive advantage,” said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.

“Significant air pollution emission reductions will be achieved under this settlement,” said Jim Gulliford, Administrator for the EPA, Region 7. “The cooperation of the facility and the teamwork among agencies has resulted in an agreement that ensures that human and ecological health are protected.”

Ethanol is primarily a corn product used as an automobile fuel alone or blended with gasoline. Ethanol’s high oxygen content allows automobile engines to combust fuel better, resulting in reduced tail pipe emissions. During the ethanol manufacturing process, dry mills burn off gasses which emit volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide into the air.

Under this consent decree, Golden Triangle’s Craig plant will install a thermal oxidizer that reduces VOC emissions by 95 percent from the feed dryers and meets new restrictive emission limits for NOx, PM, CO, and hazardous air pollutants. In addition to emission control requirements valued at about $2 million, the facility will also pay a civil penalty of $30,000. The penalty amount is similar to the amounts paid by other ethanol companies in previous Clean Air Act settlements.

Missouri, through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, teamed with the United States in the settlement negotiations to resolve the companies’ alleged violations and to bring the facility into compliance.

The consent decree was lodged in federal district court in Missouri and is subject to a 30-day comment period and final approval by the court.