US EPA issues record $11 million fine for air pollution
An Oregon wood products company is to pay over a record fine of $11.2 million for air pollution.
Under an agreement with the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Willamette Industries will spend more than $90 million to settle the major environmental law suit alleging that it failed to control the amount of air pollution from its factories. An $8 million portion of the money will have to be spent on environmental projects.
Volatile organic compounds, components of smog, were released from the company’s wood product factories at 13 facilities in Arkansas, Oregon, Louisiana and South Carolina.
“Today we are announcing the largest enforcement penalty ever taken against a single ‘smokestack’ company under the Clean Air Act,” said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner. “When a company chooses to pollute the air, it is not just breaking the law, it is placing the health of our families at risk. The Clinton-Gore Administration has fought and will continue to fight to protect the health of our families – especially our children – from polluters.”
“This settlement will improve air quality for thousands of people who live around these factories,” said Attorney General Janet Reno. “Willamette must now take responsibility and curb its pollution, so these factories will not pose a health risk to our citizens.”