The Department of Justice and the US Environmental Protection Agency today announced a multi-state Clean Air Act settlement with Cargill which will result in a reduction of approximately 30,000 tons of pollution a year and set new standards for limiting harmful emissions.
With the lodging of today’s consent decree, 81% of uncontrolled ethanol production capacity will now be under settlement agreements to install air pollution control technologies to reduce emissions.
Under the settlement, Cargill is required to install air pollution control devices at its 27 corn- and oilseed-processing facilities and is expected to spend an estimated $130 million to meet the requirements of the consent decree. Cargill will also pay a civil penalty of $1.6 million and spend $3.5 million on environmental projects across the country.
The settlement calls for broad environmental improvements at all nine of Cargill’s corn processing plants, advancing recent efforts by the government to bring the ethanol industry into compliance.
The new technology standards established by this initiative apply to all ethanol plants now under construction.
Cargill’s corn processing plants are significant sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO). Cargill’s oilseed plants emit a hazardous air pollutant, n-hexane, and are sources of VOC pollution.
The settlement requires the corn processing plants to install or enhance thermal oxidizers and scrubbers that will reduce VOC emissions up to 98%, or 10,450 tons per year, and will reduce CO emissions by 10,900 tons per year—the equivalent of taking 1.16 million and 157,000 cars off the road each year, respectively.
The settlement also will result in annual reductions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 1,350 tons, sulfur dioxide (SO2) by 2,250 tons per year, and additional reductions in particulate matter (PM) and hazardous air pollutants.
The oilseed processing plants will meet more stringent limits for HAP and VOCs emissions to reduce allowable emissions by more than 2,300 tons per year. New limits for these plants will, in some instances, be as much as 50 percent lower than current regulatory standards in the industry.
Cargill is a multi-state agribusiness that owns and operates 27 plants which process corn, wheat, soybeans, and other oilseeds into value-added products used in the food, feed, and ethanol industries.
Ten states and four counties have joined the federal government in today's settlement: Alabama; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Missouri; Nebraska; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee; Montgomery County, Ohio; and Linn and Polk Counties, Iowa. The civil penalty and environmental project monies will be shared with the participating states and counties.