The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement with Cemex, under which the company will invest approximately $10 million to cut emissions of harmful air pollution at five of its cement manufacturing plants to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. The facilities are located in Demopolis, Ala.; Louisville, Ky.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and New Braunfels and Odessa, Texas.
Under the consent decree lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Cemex will also pay a $1.69 million civil penalty, conduct energy audits at the five plants, and spend $150,000 on energy efficiency projects to mitigate the effects of past excess emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from its facilities.
“This settlement requires Cemex to use state-of-the-art technology to reduce harmful air pollution, improving public health in vulnerable communities across the South and Southeast,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA is committed to tackling clean air violations at the largest sources, cutting the pollutants that cause respiratory illnesses like asthma.”
Cemex is required to install pollution control technology that will reduce emissions of NOx and establish strict limits for sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, which will improve air quality in local communities. The company will install and continuously operate a selective non-catalytic reduction system for controlling NOx at the five plants and meet emission limits that are consistent with the current best available control technology for NOx. EPA estimates this will result in NOx emissions reductions of over 4,000 tpy. Each facility will also be subject to strict SO2 emission limits.
The settlement is part of EPA’s National Enforcement Initiative to control harmful emissions from large sources of pollution under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration requirements. The total combined SO2 and NOx emission reductions secured from cement plant settlements under this initiative will exceed 75,000 tons each year once all the required pollution controls have been installed and implemented.