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EPA, DOJ Announce Settlement with Carbon Black Producer Orion Engineered Carbons, LLC

12/22/2017
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (December 22, 2017) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement of Clean Air Act claims, by the United States and the state of Louisiana, against Orion Engineered Carbons, LLC. Under the settlement, the company has agreed to install and operate state-of-the-art pollution control technologies to reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants.

In addition to the controls, estimated to cost over $100 million, Orion will pay civil penalties of $800,000, and perform environmental mitigation projects valued at $550,000. This settlement resolves claims, alleged in a complaint filed today in federal court, that Orion failed to obtain permits and install and maintain appropriate emissions reduction technology at its four carbon black production facilities located in Franklin, Louisiana; Belpre, Ohio; Orange, Texas; and Borger, Texas, as required under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration provisions of the Clean Air Act.

Carbon black is a fine carbonaceous powder used in tires, plastics, rubber, inkjet toner and cosmetics.  Production of carbon black creates large amounts of nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter. NOx and SO2 have numerous adverse health effects and are significant contributors to acid rain, smog and haze. These pollutants are converted in the air to particulate matter that can cause severe respiratory and cardiovascular impacts, and premature death.

As a part of the settlement, Orion will be required to install wet or dry gas scrubbers to reduce SO2 emissions at two facilities, and selective catalytic reduction technology to reduce emissions of NOx at all four of its facilities. In addition, at its Orange, Texas, facility, Orion will be responsible for meeting a limit on the sulfur content of its feedstock oil, and repairing or replacing the combustion technology used to comply with the Carbon Black Maximum Achievable Control Technology Standard.

EPA expects this settlement will result in a reduction of SO2 emissions of approximately 10,000 tons per year; a reduction of NOx emissions of approximately 1,663 tons per year; and a reduction of emissions of particulate matter, as compared to the company’s 2015 emissions.

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, is subject to a 30-day federal comment period, a 45-day Louisiana public comment period, and final court approval.  Information on submitting comments is available at the DOJ website at: www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees

Today’s settlement comes at the same time DOJ and EPA are announcing settlements with two other carbon black production companies: Sid Richardson Carbon and Energy Company and Columbian Chemicals Company.

More information about the settlement: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/orion-engineered-carbons-llc-clean-air-act-settlement