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Harmful air pollution to be reduced at Dow Chemical plants

Read Time: 2 mins

The US Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) have announced a settlement with Dow Chemical Company and two subsidiaries, Performance Materials NA Inc and Union Carbide Corporation, that will eliminate thousands of tons of air pollution from four of Dow’s petrochemical manufacturing facilities in Texas and Louisiana.

The settlement resolves allegations that Dow and its subsidiaries violated the Clean Air Act by failing to properly operate and monitor industrial flares at their petrochemical facilities, which resulted in excess emissions of harmful air pollution.

Under the settlement, the companies will spend approximately $294 million to install and operate air pollution control and monitoring technology to reduce flaring and the resulting harmful air pollution from 26 industrial flares at the companies’ facilities in Hahnville, Plaquemine, Freeport, and Orange; pay $3 million in civil penalties; and perform three state-authorized beneficial environmental projects in Louisiana.

“By requiring a reduction in the quantity of waste gases that are flared and an improvement in combustion efficiency at four Dow facilities, this settlement will prevent the annual discharge of thousands of tons of harmful air pollutants,” said Larry Starfield, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Those controls, plus a requirement for fence line monitoring of benzene emissions, will result in significant benefits for the local EJ communities in Texas and Louisiana.”

Once fully implemented, the pollution controls required by the settlement are estimated to reduce harmful air emissions of VOCs by more than 5,600 tons per year. The settlement is also expected to reduce toxic air pollutants, including benzene, by nearly 500 tons per year.

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