The agreement will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx), and particulate matter (PM) by more than 400 tons per year through the installation of approximately $6.6 million worth of new equipment to control and monitor air pollution. In addition, Saint-Gobain will pay a civil penalty of $929,000 and $1.2 million for an environmental project that will also reduce emissions. EPA estimates that Saint-Gobain will spend approximately $2.2 million annually to operate and maintain the new equipment.
The settlement resolves EPAs allegation that Saint-Gobain failed to apply the best available control technology to control NOx emissions when it modified a furnace in 1998. EPA also alleged that the company failed to timely install a continuous emissions monitoring system to measure NOx emissions in 2002, failed to test emissions in 2000 and 2001, and violated a condition of its Title V air permit by improperly certifying that the facility complied with federal law in 2000 and 2001.
This is a positive result that will bring cleaner air to the residents of the San Joaquin Valley and provide a strong mechanism to strengthen the area's environment for years to come, stated Kelly A. Johnson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Saint-Gobain's commitment to reduce plant emissions is a step in the right direction for the Valley's air quality, said Wayne Nastri, the EPAs regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest region.
As part of the settlement, Saint-Gobain has agreed to immediately comply with interim air pollution limits, obtain proper air permits, install pollution control equipment on its furnaces by March 2007, and donate approximately $1 million worth of emission credits generated by the emission reductions. Air pollution control equipment installed at the facility will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 226 tons per year, sulfur dioxide emissions by 167 tons per year, and particulate emissions by 33 tons per year.
Glass manufacturing generates nitrogen oxides, which can cause injury to both human health and the environment. Nitrogen oxides are a key component of smog that aggravates respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.
The San Joaquin Valley ranks second to the Los Angeles area as the smoggiest area in the country. According to data from the California Air Resources Board, the San Joaquin Valley exceeded the eight-hour federal health standard 109 times in 2004.