Polluting Ohio acid factory fined $750,000

A Cincinnati factory which produces nitric acid for agriculture and armaments has been fined $750,000 for trying to dodge its environmental responsibilities and emitting unacceptable levels of polluting gases.

The parent companies of the facility, Agrium US and Royster-Clark Inc, were issued with notices telling them they had violated the Clean Air Act by changing the construction of the plant in the mid-1990s without obtaining the necessary federal permission and failing to install the legally required pollution control equipment.

The problem came to light in October last year, meaning the facility had been polluting with impunity for over a decade.

A settlement was reached this week.

“This company increased its profits by ignoring environmental laws,” said Granta Nakayama, Environmental Protection Agency’s assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assistance.

“The EPA will continue enforcing against companies that refuse to comply with regulations intended to protect public health and our air, water and land.”

The pollutants released were nitrous oxides, a family of gases which cause or aggravate respiratory problems, lead to acid rain and form toxic smog.

Emissions from nitric acid plants can be carried significant distances downwind, causing air quality problems in nearby states.

The United States’ Clean Air Act requires that major sources of air pollution must first obtain a permit before making any changes that would result in a significant emissions increase of any pollutant.

The EPA’s regulations ensure that air quality is not significantly degraded from the addition of new and modified factories, industrial boilers and power plants.

Sam Bond

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