Cemex Agrees to Clean Air Act Settlement

"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 Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles of EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice have reached a settlement with Cemex Inc. that calls for the company to invest about $10 million to cut harmful air emissions at five of its cement manufacturing plants in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas in order to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. Under the consent decree filed in the a federal court in Tennessee, Cemex also will 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.

"The cement sector is a significant source of air pollution posing real health risks to the communities where they reside, including vulnerable communities across the U.S. who deserve better air quality than they have gotten over the years," said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This agreement will require Cemex to pay a penalty and install important pollution controls to achieve reductions in harmful air emissions, thereby making Cemex a better neighbor to local residents."

"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," added Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles of 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."

The five plants make Portland cement and are located in Demopolis, Ala.; Louisville, Ky.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and New Braunfels and Odessa, Texas. Cemex is required to install pollution control technology that will reduce NOx emissions and set strict limits for sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, which will improve air quality in local communities. DOJ reported Cemex will install and continuously use 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, and that EPA estimates this will result in NOx emissions reductions of more than 4,000 tons per year. Each facility will 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, which includes cement manufacturing plants, under the Clean Air Act's Prevention of Significant Deterioration requirements. The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

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