Under an agreement with U.S Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice and New York State, Lafarge North America Inc. has agreed to fund $1.5 million in projects to reduce air pollution in the community surrounding its Ravena, N.Y., cement plant. The agreement also provides Lafarge additional time to reduce air pollution from the cement plant. A March 2010 settlement between the federal government and Lafarge North America Inc. resolved violations of the Clean Air Act at Lafarge’s 13 cement plants in the United States.
“Safeguarding the health of the community surrounding the Ravena plant is our top priority,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “This agreement will reduce the pollution limits required by the settlement at this facility by providing a significant amount of funding for projects that will improve local air quality.”
“This settlement will go a long way toward reducing air pollution in Ravena and the surrounding area, while helping to ensure jobs stay in the community,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “My office will work to ensure Lafarge complies fully with this settlement, meets its obligations to modernize the Ravena operations, and continues to improve the health of the air in the Ravena area.”
The federal settlement reached in 2010 requires Lafarge to significantly reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution emitted from its cement plants in 13 states. The settlement included a requirement that Lafarge either install controls on the two old, inefficient kilns at the Ravena facility or replace those kilns with a new, lower emitting kiln by Jan. 1, 2015.
The amendment provides Lafarge until July 1, 2016, to construct the new kiln and to shut down the two old kilns. In return for the extension of time, Lafarge has committed to interim air pollution limits at the existing kilns intended to result in the same or more reductions as would have been required by the original agreement and to fund $1.5 million in additional projects to reduce air pollution in the local community.
The new air pollution reduction projects that Lafarge has committed to funding include replacement of an old locomotive engine at the Ravena facility with a new, more efficient and less polluting one at a cost of approximately $600,000. The remaining $900,000 will be provided to New York to fund energy efficiency or pollution reduction projects in the community around the Ravena plant.
Such projects may include weatherization of low-income housing, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at municipal buildings, replacement of outdoor wood boilers and replacement of diesel buses with models that use hybrid technology or compressed natural gas.