ADM, Alcoa Settle Federal Pollution Cases

Compiled By Jill Jusko Alcoa Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) each will likely spend more than $300 million to comply with settlements announced last week for violations of the Clean Air Act. Pittsburgh-based aluminum producer Alcoa settled allegations that it operated a power plant at its Rockdale, Texas, aluminum production facility without installing the required pollution controls or obtaining the permits required by the Clean Air Act. According to the U.S. Environmental Agency, the Rockdale facility is the single largest non-utility source of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions in the nation. Under the settlement, Alcoa agreed to select within a year one of three options to achieve the required emissions reductions: install state-of-the-art pollution controls on its existing power plant, replace the existing power plant with a new one that includes state-of-the-art pollution controls, or shut down the power plant completely in the event the production facility is shut down. The EPA estimates the company will spend about $330 million to build a new plant. The government agency said that last fall Alcoa submitted a permit application for new power plant units. Alcoa also has agreed to pay a $1.5 million civil penalty and spend $2.5 on two additional projects. In the ADM settlement of Clean Air Act violation charges, the EPA estimates that the food-processing giant will spend about $340 million over 10 years to meet its settlement obligations, which include installing or expanding of leading-edge pollution controls at numerous locations and in many processing units, and closing down the worst violators. ADM was charged with failing to accurately estimate emissions from hundreds of processing units and expanding other units without required pollution control technology. The settlement covers operations at 52 plants in 16 states, the EPA reports. The government agency says the reforms should eliminate at least 63,000 tons of air pollution a year. ADM also will pay a civil penalty of $4.6 million.

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