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1998 News Releases



Release Date: 11/24/1998
Contact Information: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548

BERYL, W.Va. - In papers filed in federal court in Elkins today, the United States and Kingsford Manufacturing Co. agreed to settle a lawsuit over Clean Air Act violations at Kingford’s charcoal manufacturing plant in Beryl, West Virginia.

In the proposed consent decree, filed by the Justice Department on behalf of EPA, Kingsford has agreed to pay a $900,000 civil penalty to settle the government’s March 5, 1998 complaint that the company violated federally-enforceable state regulations limiting particulate  emissions.   According to the complaint, discharges from the two stacks of the incinerator at the plant’s charcoal furnace exceeded the hourly limit on particulate matter emissions on a nearly continuous basis.  The complaint also alleges that on April 30, 1997, an EPA inspector documented significant exceedances of the regulatory limit on the opacity of emissions from these stacks.

Today’s settlement also requires the company to demonstrate compliance with these regulations by conducting two  stack tests using EPA-approved methods, and submitting at least one year’s worth of daily readings of the opacity (darkness) of plant emissions.

"This case takes the profit out of Kingsford’s pollution.  EPA is always willing to take independent enforcement action where the state’s action is insufficient to deter corporations from violating the law, " said EPA Regional Administrator W. Michael McCabe.

EPA overfiled in this case because it determined that a previously reached settlement between Kingsford and the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection in March 1997 was an inadequate deterrent, in light of the severity of Kingsford’s violations.  That settlement only required the company to upgrade the air pollution control equipment at the Beryl plant.  Kingsford also paid  $50,000  to the West Virginia Air Pollution Education and Environment Fund, which the state described as a "donation."

Particulate emissions have been linked to asthma and other respiratory ailments, and pose particular risks for children and the elderly.  Particulate pollution also leads to reduced visibility.
Kingsford did not admit liability for the violations alleged in the federal lawsuit, which is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.