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1998 News Releases



Release Date: 10/29/1998
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578

     (San Francisco) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ) today announced that Campbell Soup Co. has agreed to pay a $1,215,000 penalty to settle Clean Air Act violations at the firm's Sacramento, Calif. can manufacturing facility, which was purchased by Silgan Can Co. in June, 1998.  The penalty is the second largest ever obtained by U.S. EPA in California under the Clean Air Act.  As part of the settlement, Silgan has agreed to interim limits on its emissions and to shut down its three piece can lines by August 1, 2000. Silgan intends to replace the three-piece can lines with one new two-piece can line.  The settlement was filed in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of California.

         "The civil penalty paid by Campbell Soup Company helps to level the playing field for other businesses in Sacramento County that have complied with clean air laws," said David P. Howekamp,  director of U.S. EPA's western regional air division.  "In addition, this settlement leads to a reduction of emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds from Silgan's facility.  We commend Silgan for its willingness to modernize this facility and to install state-of-the-art air pollution control equipment on its new two-piece can line."

       Silgan manufactures three-piece cans at the facility for foods such as soups and vegetable juices.  During the can manufacturing process, coatings and end compounds are applied to the cans, causing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  

       The U.S. EPA filed an enforcement action against Campbell Soup for Clean Air Act violations in October 1995.  In the action, U.S. EPA alleged that when Campbell owned and operated the facility, the company modified its three-piece can lines without obtaining the required permits, which would have limited air emissions from the new operation.  Campbell also failed to install required pollution control equipment, and failed to provide offsets for its emission increases at the facility.  Such pollution controls and offsets are crucial to protect public health in Sacramento County, which is classified as a "severe" area for ground-level ozone, or smog.

       Campbell sold the can manufacturing equipment and operations at the facility to Silgan effective June 1, 1998.  In discussions with U.S. EPA and U.S. DOJ, Silgan indicated its intent to modify the facility by replacing the three-piece can lines, which are the target of U.S. EPA's enforcement action, with a two-piece can line as soon as it can obtain permits and construct the new equipment.   Silgan also stated that it intended to install the best available pollution control technology and provide offsets for this new line.  Thus, assuming Silgan's modification plans are realized, the two-piece can line will operate with fewer VOC emissions than the current three-piece lines, which will be shut down.

       The settlement  agreement sets a shutdown date of August 1, 2000, for the three-piece can lines at the facility, and establishes annual VOC emission limits for the three-piece can lines that are approximately one-third of the current permitted levels. In addition, the agreement requires Campbell to forfeit emission credits for the equipment at issue in U.S. EPA's enforcement action, which averaged between 40 and 75 tons per year of VOC emissions.  Finally, Campbell is required to donate up to 32.7 tons of emissions credits, worth approximately $588,600, from the shut down can lines to Environmental Resources Trust Inc., which was established by the Environmental Defense Fund to hold air emission credits for the benefit of the environment.

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