Iowa plant fined $1 million for air pollution violations

Nick Rees Feb. 17, 2010, 4:52pm

Tom Miller (D)

KEOKUK, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has announced that a Keokuk, Iowa corn wet milling facility will pay a $1 million environmental civil penalty for air pollution violations.

"This is a major penalty for significant air pollution violations," Miller said. "We believe Roquette is now committed to taking the steps necessary to ensure compliance and reduce air pollution emissions."

Roquette's $1 million civil penalty, Miller said, equals a $1 million penalty paid by ADM for environmental violations in the 1990s as the largest ever environmental penalty paid in Iowa.

The penalty comes as part of a consent order, judgment and decree that was agreed to by the state of Iowa and Roquette. It was approved by Lee County District Court Judge Mary Ann Brown, who had ordered the penalty as well as other terms of the agreement.

The facility manufactures a variety of corn starches, starch derivatives and other products of the corn wet milling process, including food and pharmaceutical grade dextrose, corn syrup and other products.

Roquette had been alleged to have failed to implement required "best available control technology" and obtain a permit following major plant modifications that led to increased air pollution emissions from several natural gas dryers.

Roquette was also alleged to have repeatedly exceeded its existing permits' air pollution emission limitations for particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and carbon monoxide.

Judge Brown's consent order requires Roquette to obtain permits and construct a new feedhouse that has more efficient equipment and better air pollution controls. Feedhouses make animal feed from corn processing by-products. Roquette's old feedhouse was the source of excess emissions at the plant.

Roquette is also required to implement an "environmental management information system" for air pollution control and management of hazardous waste, solid waste and wastewater.

The consent order prohibits Roquette from further violations and subjects it to stipulated penalties of up to $10,000 per day per violation if it fails to comply with the order.

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