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DALLAS —The Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced a settlement with Guardian Industries Corp. that will resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at Guardian’s flat glass manufacturing facilities throughout the U.S. One of those facilities is located in Corsicana, Texas, noted U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Under the proposed settlement, Guardian will invest more than $70 million to control emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOX), sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM) and sulfuric acid mist (H2SO4) from all of its flat glass manufacturing facilities. Guardian will also fund an environmental mitigation project valued at $150,000 to reduce particulate matter pollution in the San Joaquin Valley in California and pay a civil penalty of $312,000.
Guardian has operated its flat glass manufacturing facility in Corsicana since 1980. The EPA alleged that major facility modifications undertaken by the company beginning in 1993 led to a production increase at the Corsicana facility, and consequently, significant net emissions increases of air pollutants that occurred without Guardian obtaining the required Clean Air Act permits and without complying with the Act’s requirements regarding the installation of pollution control technology, emission limits, monitoring, record-keeping, and reporting.
“We commend Guardian Industries for its commitment to reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants from its Corsicana facility and others it operates in the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Parker. “By requiring phased-in pollution control and emissions monitoring equipment at Guardian’s Corsicana facility, this agreement appropriately balances the promotion of manufacturing and the protection of clean air for all Texas residents.”
“This settlement is a great example of a cooperative, company-wide effort to reduce air pollution and will mean cleaner air for communities across the country, where glass manufacturing is currently a significant source of the air pollutants that cause serious lung and heart problems,” said Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We are also particularly grateful to the states of Iowa and New York, as well as the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, all of whom were active partners in achieving this important outcome for the American people.”
“Air pollution from flat glass facilities can impact communities hundreds of miles away, which is why today’s announcement is so crucial to address pollution at the source and protect public health,” said Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “By investing in pollution control equipment and funding a mitigation project that will protect the health of low-income residents, Guardian is setting an example for the flat glass industry for how to control harmful air emissions at its facilities.”
The settlement resolves allegations that Guardian violated the Clean Air Act and state air pollution control plans when it made major modifications to its flat glass furnaces that significantly increased harmful air emissions. This settlement is part of EPA’s ongoing National Enforcement Initiative addressing Clean Air Act New Source Review and Prevention of Significant Deterioration program violations and is the agency’s first settlement involving the flat glass manufacturing sector. Flat glass, also known as float glass, is used as windows for office buildings and homes as well as for automobile windshields.
The $150,000 mitigation project with the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District will provide incentives to low-income residents living in the San Joaquin Valley to replace or retrofit inefficient, higher-polluting wood-burning appliances with cleaner-burning, more energy-efficient appliances. The San Joaquin Valley is an area with poor air quality.
EPA expects that the pollution controls required by the settlement will reduce harmful emissions by 7,300 tons per year, including approximately 6,400 tons per year of NOx, 550 tons per year of SO2, 200 tons per year of PM and 140 tons of H2SO4. The mitigation project in California will yield additional reductions of PM. These emissions reductions will result in significant human health and environmental benefits for communities. In addition to the Corsicana plant, Guardian’s flat glass manufacturing facilities are also located in Kingsburg, California, DeWitt, Iowa, Carleton, Michigan, Geneva, New York, Floreffe, Pennsylvania, and Richburg, South Carolina.
SO2 and NOX have numerous adverse effects on human health and are significant contributors to acid rain, smog and haze. Once airborne, these pollutants can also convert into particulate matter. PM, especially the fine particles, can travel deep into a person’s lungs causing severe respiratory impacts, such as coughing, decreased lung function, and chronic bronchitis. Fine PM is also associated with cardiovascular impacts and even premature death. H2SO4 irritates the skin, eyes, nose and throat and lungs, and exposure to high concentrations can lead to more severe health impacts.
The states of Iowa and New York actively participated in the settlement and will each receive $78,000 of the total penalty. The United States will receive $156,000. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District also actively participated in the settlement.
The proposed consent decree was lodged Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.
For more information on the settlement and to read the proposed settlement, visit http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/guardian-industries-corp-clean-air-act-settlement.
For more information on the settlement or to read a copy of the consent decree, visit
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