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EPA enforcement in Louisiana continues to cut pollution

Release Date: 12/04/2008
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

Polluters agree to spend $11.8 billion on environmental controls and cleanup nationwide

(Dallas, Texas – December 4, 2008) More than $11.8 billion in environmental improvements were secured and an estimated four billion pounds of pollution will be prevented as a result of enforcement actions by the Environmental Protection Agency this year. Both figures represent record highs for the agency.

Results for cases with facilities in Louisiana brought nearly 176 million pounds of pollution reductions, more than $183 million in penalties and environmental improvements, and 52 concluded enforcement actions.

“Enforcement is a vital part of EPA’s commitment to protecting the environment and public health,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “As a result of these efforts, communities throughout Louisiana will benefit from less pollution and more investments by industry to better control pollutants. I commend the work of our staff and environmental partners on a job well done.”

EPA’s enforcement numbers were released today by its Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance as part of its fiscal year 2008 accomplishments report. The report outlines some of the agency’s notable achievements in the areas of civil and criminal enforcement, compliance assistance, public health, environmental justice and international cooperation.

A total of $565 million in environmental improvements, 437 million pounds in pollution reductions and two billion pounds of treated or disposed hazardous waste were realized across the region comprising Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Among the agency’s enforcement achievements for Louisiana is the national E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. settlement, which will eliminate more than 13,000 tons of harmful emissions annually from four sulfuric acid production plants in Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. Louisiana partnered with EPA and will receive $550,000 of the $4.1 million civil penalty. DuPont will also spend at least $66 million on air pollution controls by installing state-of-the-art “dual absorption” pollution control equipment at the Darrow, Louisiana, facility.

EPA also partnered with the State of Louisiana in a multi-regional case against Equistar Chemicals LP. Nationally, Equistar will spend more than $125 million on pollution controls and cleanup to address a myriad of air, water and hazardous waste violations at seven petrochemical plants in Louisiana, Texas, Illinois, and Iowa. The company’s investment in comprehensive control and operational measures is expected to significantly reduce air, water and hazardous waste pollution from the facilities. Louisiana will receive $178,600 of the $2.5 million penalty, and Equistar will pay at least $25,000 to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to establish a fund to support hurricane cleanup and recovery activities.

In addition to enforcement actions, EPA provided help to more than 12,421 regional businesses and individuals in understanding and complying with environmental responsibilities during the past year.

The EPA enforcement program is a vital tool in ensuring compliance with the nation’s environmental laws and inspiring businesses, governments and others to focus on pollution prevention. Additional information on the 2008 enforcement and compliance results is available at http://www.epa.gov/earth1r6/6en/08-axns.htm.

To learn more about activities in EPA Region 6, please visit http://www.epa.gov/region6.

An EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/audio.htm#audio120408_eoy_la.

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