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EPA reaches agreement with Illinois company on clean-air violations

Release Date: 10/07/2009
Contact Information: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254, omohundro.william@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 09-OPA193


(Chicago - Oct. 7, 2009) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has reached an agreement with Rentech Energy Midwest Corp. on alleged violations of EPA regulations to protect the stratospheric ozone layer at the company's ammonia fertilizer production facility at 16675 Highway 20 W., East Dubuque, Ill.

The agreement, which includes a $79,700 penalty, resolves EPA allegations that Rentech's industrial process refrigeration unit leaked excessive amounts of ozone-depleting refrigerant. Rentech voluntarily self-disclosed to EPA potential regulation violations in September 2008.

In a related action, Rentech agreed to an EPA administrative order to replace within a year the leaking refrigeration unit with a unit that uses a nonozone depleting substance.

Chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants and certain substitute refrigerants deplete the stratospheric, or "good," ozone layer allowing dangerous amounts of cancer-causing ultraviolet rays from the sun to strike the earth. Production of some of these chemicals was stopped in 1995, and federal law strictly controls their use and handling.

Information about EPA Region 5's air enforcement program is at http://www.epa.gov/region5/air/enforce/index.html. Potential environmental violations may be reported at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/complaints.

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