California cement plant agrees to pay $1.4 million pollution fine

CalPortland Company (CPC), a major producer of Portland cement and building materials in the United States, has agreed to pay a $1.425 million penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at its cement plant in Mojave, Calif.

As announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), CPC will spend an additional $1.3 million on pollution controls that will reduce harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), pollutants that can lead to childhood asthma and smog.

The $1.425 million penalty is one of the largest settlements for a single cement facility, according to federal authorities, who described the Mojave plant  as “one of the largest emitters of nitrogen oxide pollution in California.” .The plant is located in Kern County, Calif., which has some of the worst air pollution in the country. The pollutants covered in the settlement contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Exposure to even low levels of ozone can cause respiratory problems, and repeated exposure can aggravate pre-existing respiratory diseases.

The government’s complaint alleges that CPC made significant modifications to its plant, resulting in increased emissions of NOx, SO2 and carbon monoxide, without first obtaining a Clean Air Act-required permit and without installing necessary pollution control equipment.

The proposed consent decree will be lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, and will be subject to a 30-day public comment period.

More information on the settlement can be found by clicking here.