Fed Agencies to Fund Cleanup Around New York Cement Plant

EPA, DOJ, State of New York sign agreement with Lafarge North America on projects to reduce air pollution at cement plants.

July 29, 2013
CDR Staff
Concrete and Aggregates Legislation & Regulations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, the State of New York and Lafarge North America have jointly agreed to fund $1.5 million in projects to reduce air pollution in communities surrounding Lafarge’s Ravena, N.Y., cement plant.

Additionally, the agreement signed by all the parties provides Lafarge with additional time to reduce pollution at the Ravena plant. A March 2010 settlement between the federal agencies and Lafarge North America resolved violations of the Clean Air Act at the company’s 13 U.S. cement plants.

“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,” says New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “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 requires Lafarge to significantly reduce nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide pollution emitted from the cement plants it operates in 13 states. The settlement included a requirement that Lafarge either install controls on the two inefficient kilns at the Ravena facility or replace the kilns with a lower-emitting kiln by Jan. 1, 2015.

The amendment provides Lafarge an additional 18 months to shut down two old kilns in Ravena and finish construction of the new kiln by July 1, 2016. In return for the extension, 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 more efficient and less polluting one at a cost of about $600,000. The remaining $900,000 will be provided to New York State to fund energy efficiency or pollution reduction projects in the community around the Ravena plant. 

In the original March 2010 settlement, Lafarge agreed to pay a civil penalty of slightly more than $5 million to the U.S. and various participating states and to install and implement control technologies at an expected cost of up to $170 million. The new controls reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides at the cement plants by more than 9,000 tons each year and sulfur dioxide by more than 26,000 tons per year. 

Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the Puget Sound (Washington) Clean Air Agency are parties to the settlement.