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DEGS of Narrows LLC Settles Clean Air Act Violations

Release Date: 03/02/2010
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543 smith.bonnie@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (March 2, 2010) – DEGS of Narrows LLC, a steam and electricity provider for Celanese Acetate’s manufacturing plant in Narrows, Va., has settled alleged Clean Air Act violations with the Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

As part of the settlement announced today, DEGS has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $310,000 of which $155,000 will be paid to United States and the other $155,000 to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

"EPA will continue to work with our state partners to safeguard public health by making sure companies comply with environmental laws,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Accurately monitoring and reporting environmental information is a legal and public obligation.”

In addition to paying the civil penalties, DEGS has agreed as part of the settlement to surrender 450 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) allowances to EPA, resulting in the elimination of 450 tons of NOx emissions that would otherwise be permissible through pollution trading.

NOx contributes to the formation of acid rain and also increases low-level ozone, which causes smog. NOx can cause severe respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma.

The United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia alleged that DEGS failed to comply with federal and state requirements for maintaining quality-assured data from continuous emissions monitors for NOx from 2003 through 2007. Although not required in the settlement, the company has increased its institutional controls to ensure valid data is provided.

The United States and the Commonwealth also alleged that DEGs failed to comply with its operating permit under the Clean Air Act from 2003 to 2007 and failed to properly perform monitoring on valves and pressure relief devices to check for leaks during 2007.

Under EPA’s self-disclosure policy, which allows companies to self-report violations to EPA, DEGS disclosed continuous emission monitor violations in December 2006. Although DEGS did not meet the formal requirements of EPA’s self-disclosure policy, EPA agreed to a reduced penalty in this case because of the company’s self-disclosure.

The consent decree and complaint were lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

DEGS’ facility is co-located with Celanese Acetate LLC at 3520 Virginia Avenue, Narrows, Virginia 24124. DEGS is a subsidiary of Duke Energy Corporation.

See http://www.epa.gov/oecaerth/incentives/auditing/auditpolicy.html to learn more about EPA’s self-disclosure policy.