On January 31, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced alongside the State of Illinois that the two have signed a consent decree with one Illinois company to finalize a resolution after it violated the EPA’s Clean Air Act.
According to a release from the EPA, H. Kramer and Co. signed the agreement after violating EPA and state air pollution regulations at its copper smelting facility outside Chicago. In the agreement, H. Kramer said it will perform $3 million in EPA maintenance to install new measures to control pollution produced by the plant. It also stipulated that the company will pay $35,000 in penalties, and spend $40,000 to improve diesel school busses used in the town.
The EPA stated that the agreement brings an end to a case in which H. Kramer did not properly maintain and operate its foundry furnaces, which led to lead emissions that reached levels that did not comply with the Illinois State Implementation Plan. By signing the settlement, H. Kramer also resolved the assertions that its operations directly caused or had a hand in causing air pollution in the region, and may have even been a threat to the safety and health of the public.
Now, the company will have to spend the money to install new filters and top-of-the-line control equipment on two furnaces in an effort to lower harmful emissions. The consent decree will lead to costly asset downtime for the company, as it will have to limit the production from two of its lead allows until all of the control equipment.
“This settlement will protect Pilsen residents from lead emissions from the H. Kramer foundry and prevent future violations of the Clean Air Act,” said EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman. “Exposure to lead can impair the ability of children to learn.”
Attorney General Lisa Madigan added that the settlement would “dramatically reduce harmful pollution levels in the Pilsen neighborhood and to improve overall air quality in the surrounding community.”
According to EPA figures, the Clean Air Act and subsequent amendments are expected to prevent more than 230,000 early deaths in the country by 2020.
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