EPA Reaches Settlement with R.J. Torching for Alleged Clean Air Act Violations at Facility in Flint, Michigan
EPA to hold virtual public meeting January 18, 2024 to discuss the consent decree
Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement with scrap metal recycler R.J. Torching, for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. Under the agreement, known as a consent decree, R.J. Torching will install a pollution capture and control system at its facility on G-5167 North Dort Highway in Flint, Michigan. This system is expected to significantly reduce visible emissions of inhalable metallic particulate matter from the facility and will better protect human health and the environment. The company will also pay $150,000 in civil penalties.
R.J. Torching is a scrap metal recycler that uses high powered torches to cut large metal objects such as automotive manufacturing machines. EPA alleges that the company violated visible emissions limitations, illegally conducted open burning, and failed to properly operate air pollution control devices. EPA also alleges that the company violated a 2015 administrative settlement to use a specified air pollution cleansing device when needed, to comply with applicable Michigan visible emission requirements.
R.J. Torching’s torch-cutting operations can generate significant amounts of pollution, which can lead to a variety of health problems. EPA has also worked with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to issue violation notices addressing the company’s excess torch-cutting emissions at its facilities in Flint and Battle Creek, Michigan.
In 2019, R.J. Torching installed a movable enclosure to better contain torch-cutting emissions at the Flint facility. The current settlement will require R.J. Torching to use the enclosure to house the company’s torch-cutting operations and construct a new pollution control system to capture the emissions and remove particulate matter from the air through a fabric filter system. It will also require air pollution testing, and improved monitoring and compliance with a more stringent air emission standard to mitigate past harm to the environment.
The facility is located in an area with environmental justice concerns, according to data from EPA’s EJSCREEN tool. Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
The settlement is subject to a public comment period and final court approval. There will be a virtual public meeting on the consent decree January 18, 2024, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. EST. Information on how to submit a public comment and participate in the public meeting is available on the Department of Justice website