Glass maker settles with feds, 10 states

Nick Rees Jan. 21, 2010, 12:20pm


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - A settlement has been reached by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and nine other states with a glass manufacturer alleged to be operating without the proper permits or pollution controls.

Saint-Gobain containers, Inc., is alleged to have failed to obtain required permits or installed state-of-the-art air pollution controls that are required under the federal Clean Air Act when extending the lives of its glass furnaces. Under the terms of the settlement, the company will pay a $1.15 million civil penalty to the United States and $1.1 million in civil penalties to the intervening states. Massachusetts will receive $100,000 of the that penalty.

"For years, Massachusetts has been a leader in the national battle for clean air and to reduce the health costs we incur when there is excess pollution," Coakley said.

"Making sure that industrial facilities employ state-of-the-art controls and operate as efficiently as possible is in the public interest and also helps to improve air quality standards."

Saint-Gobain is also required by the settlement to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide by approximately 59 percent from its fleet of furnaces. Emissions of oxides of nitrogen must be cut by approximately 41 percent and particulate matter emissions will be reduced by 28 percent. The reductions will be made possible by the installation of emissions controls that the company had previously failed to install.

The company's Milford, Mass., facility furnaces are required to be retrofitted by 2015 to operate as oxyfuel furnaces, which emit fewer oxides of nitrogen than unregistered furnaces and are more efficient. Oxides of nitrogen are a contributor to smog.

Equivalent controls will also be installed on both of Saint-Gobains' furnaces to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, which are a principal contributor to acid rain, Coakley says. The company's electrostatic precipitator controls will also be upgraded to new and more efficient equivalent controls.

A consent decree has been lodged by the United States Department of Justice, representing the U.S. Environmental protection Agency, and the participating states. The consent decree will be available for a 30 day period, after which the court is expected to enter the decree so that its terms may be implemented fully.

Other participating states and agencies in the settlement include Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, Washington, and the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
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