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EPA Settlement will Reduce Air Pollution from four Pennsylvania Prisons

Release Date: 01/04/2011
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (January 4, 2011) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the
U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections and the Department of General Services for alleged Clean Air Act violations at boiler plants generating power, heat and hot water at four correctional facilities. This settlement secures air pollution reductions and additional reporting requirements for correctional facilities in Muncy, Bellefonte, Huntingdon and Somerset, Pa.

“Today’s settlement will improve the air quality in four Pennsylvania communities,” said Shawn M. Garvin, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator. “It’s important that all sources of air emissions, including prisons, comply with environmental regulations to ensure that the standards are met in nearby communities.”

Under the terms of settlement, each of the four facilities is making changes at its boiler plant to reduce emissions of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides. These pollutants can cause respiratory problems, exacerbate cases of childhood asthma, and create haze. Under the agreement, the Department of Corrections will pay a civil penalty of $300,000.

This settlement involves the State Correctional Institution at Muncy in Lycoming County; the State Correctional Institution at Rockview in Centre County; the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon in Huntingdon County; and, the State Correctional Institution at Laurel Highlands in Somerset County. These prisons are owned and operated by the Department of General Services and the Department of Corrections.

As a result of this settlement:

    a baghouse to control particulate matter will be installed at the Rockview facility;
    new gas-fired boiler units at the Laurel Highlands facility will be constructed;
    coal-fired boiler units at the Muncy facility will be shut down and replaced by an existing natural gas- fired boiler; and
    the Huntingdon facility is required to either add particulate matter controls, or convert to gas-fired boiler units.

This settlement has reporting obligations to ensure the prisons stay on schedule with the terms of the agreement. Should the facilities’ boilers fail to meet the requirements, they will be subject to
stipulated penalties, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per day contingent on the type and length of the violation.

The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

For more information about environmental compliance with possible federal requirements at correctional facilities see http://www.epa.gov/Region3/compliance_assistance/prisons.htm.

More about the EPA’s efforts in combating air pollution is available at http://www.epa.gov/region3.