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Lehigh Cement Company LLC and Lehigh White Cement Company LLC Clean Air Act Settlement

(Washington, DC - December 3, 2019) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced a settlement with Lehigh Cement Company, LLC (Lehigh Cement) and Lehigh White Cement Company, LLC (Lehigh White) (collectively, the Lehighs) that will resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at the companies’ fourteen kilns at eleven Portland cement manufacturing facilities located in Alabama, California, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas. Under the proposed settlement, the Lehighs will invest in technologies to cut emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) at its Portland cement manufacturing facilities. Lehigh Cement will also implement an environmental mitigation project at two facilities and pay a $1.3 million civil penalty. The states of Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, New York, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Jefferson County Board of Health (in Alabama) and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (in California) participated in the settlement.

Overview of Companies

This settlement is with two companies, Lehigh Cement Company LLC and Lehigh White Cement Company.  Lehigh Cement Company LLC is a Delaware corporation, and maintains its corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania. Lehigh Cement owns and/or operates 12 kilns at 9 cement manufacturing plants.  Lehigh White Cement Company LLC is a Delaware limited liability company with its corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania.  Lehigh White owns and/or operates 2 kilns at 2 white cement manufacturing plants. 

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The United States alleges in its Complaint that on more than one occasion, the Lehighs failed to obtain pre-construction permits and install and operate the appropriate nitrogen oxide (NOX) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) control technology for major modifications at its cement manufacturing plants that resulted in significant emissions increases.  The changes violated requirements contained in Section 165(a) of the Clean Air Act, regulations set forth in 40 C.F.R. § 52.21, and the corresponding state regulations in state implementation plans (SIPs). EPA’s regional offices in Philadelphia (Region 3), Chicago (Region 5), and San Francisco (Region 9) issued notices of violations (NOVs) for the modifications to the Evansville, PA, Mitchell, Indiana, and Cupertino, CA plants, respectively

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Injunctive Relief

Under this settlement, Lehigh will install and continuously operate selective non-catalytic reduction systems (SNCR) for controlling NOx at between eight and ten kilns, and meet emission limits that are consistent with the current best available control technology (BACT) at each kiln, including meeting a NOx emission limit of 1.5 lb NOx /ton of clinker at two kilns. At the remaining 4 kilns, Lehigh already has SNCR installed, but the settlement would require Lehigh to continuously operate those SNCRs to meet tightened emission limits.

For controlling SO2, Lehigh will install and continuously operate lime injection systems at five or six kilns, and will meet low SO2 emission limits at all kilns.

Additionally, Lehigh will replace old diesel engines in several off-road vehicles at some of its plant sites, reducing NOx emissions by an estimated 25 tpy ($650,000).

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Pollutant Impacts

This settlement is part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative to control harmful emissions from large sources of pollution, which includes cement manufacturing plants, under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review requirements. The total NOX emission reductions from the settlement are around 4,500 tons per year.  The settlement will also reduce SO2 emissions by nearly 1,000 tons per year.

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Health Effects and Environmental Benefits 

NOX and SO2 have adverse effects on human health and the environment. NOX can cause or contribute to a variety of health problems and adverse environmental impacts, such as ground-level ozone, acid rain, global warming, water quality deterioration, and visual impairment. Affected populations include children and people with lung diseases such as asthma. Exposure to these conditions can cause damage to lung tissue for people who work or exercise outside.  High concentrations of SO2 can affect breathing and may aggravate existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Sensitive populations include asthmatics, individuals with bronchitis or emphysema, children, and the elderly. SO2 is also a primary contributor to acid rain.

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Civil Penalty

Lehigh will pay a total penalty of $1,300,000 for violations resolved in the decree. Of the total civil penalty amount, $650,000 will be paid to the United States and $650,000 will be paid to the seven state and local signatories under the decree.  These signatories include the states of Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, and New York, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Jefferson County Board of Health, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

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Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.   Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice.

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For more information, contact:

Sara Froikin
290 Broadway
New York, NY 10007
(212) 637-3263

Shaun Burke
Senior Environmental Engineer
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-1039

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