CHICAGO (Sept. 1, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with Cargill Inc. that will result in the reduction of about 30,000 tons of air pollution a year and set new standards for limiting harmful emissions from specialty oilseed plants.
Cargill is a multi-state agribusiness that owns and operates 27 plants that process corn, wheat, soybeans and other oilseeds into products used in the food, feed and ethanol industries.
Five of these plants are in EPA Region 5. Cargill oilseed-processing plants are at 115 S. Euclid, Bloomington, Ill.; 1503 Wabash Ave., Lafayette, Ind.; and 2400 Industrial Drive, Sidney, Ohio. Corn-processing plants are at 1100 Indianapolis Blvd., Hammond, Ind., and 3201 Needmore Road, Dayton, Ohio.
Today's agreement resolves a complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of EPA alleging that Cargill had significantly underestimated emissions from its operations in 13 states. Under the settlement, Cargill is required to install air pollution control devices at its 27 facilities and is expected to spend an estimated $130 million to meet the requirements of the agreement. The company will pay a civil penalty of $1.6 million and spend $3.5 million on environmental projects across the country.
The settlement calls for broad, sweeping environmental improvements at all nine of Cargill's corn-processing plants, significantly advancing recent efforts by the government to bring the ethanol industry into compliance. With the lodging of today's consent decree, 81 percent by capacity of uncontrolled ethanol facilities will now be under settlement agreements to install air pollution control technologies to reduce emissions.
Cargill's corn-processing plants are significant sources of volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide. In addition to contributing to ground-level ozone (smog), VOCs can cause serious health problems such as cancer and other effects. Carbon monoxide is harmful because it reduces oxygen delivery to the body's organs and tissues. Cargill's oilseed plants emit the hazardous air pollutant n-hexane and are sources of VOC pollution.
The settlement comes three years after federal and state agreements with 12 ethanol plants in Minnesota and the April 2003 settlement with Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill's largest competitor in this industry.
The consent decree was lodged in federal district court in Minneapolis, Minn., and is subject to a 30-day comment period.