Wednesday, August 14, 2013

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Gulf Chemical’s Freeport Facility to Pay $7.5 Million for Violating Texas Environmental Laws

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today resolved the State’s environmental enforcement action against Gulf Chemical & Metallurgical Corporation (GCMC). Under an agreed judgment negotiated by the State, GCMC must pay Texas $7.5 million for its Freeport industrial manufacturing facility’s failure to comply with state environmental quality laws. Today’s agreement is the third largest recovery from a single facility in the history of the Texas Clean Air Act. Attorney General Abbott issued the following statement about the State’s milestone agreement:

“Enforcing our State’s environmental quality laws is critical to protecting Texas’s precious natural resources. Gulf Chemical’s Freeport facility failed to comply with the law and therefore faced an aggressive enforcement action from the State of Texas. As a result, that facility now faces one of the largest Texas Clean Air Act penalties in state history.”

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Agreed final judgment against Gulf Chemical & Metallurgical Corporation

The State’s 2011 enforcement action against GCMC originated with a referral from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, whose investigators found that GCMC’s facility unlawfully emitted air pollutants such as ammonia, nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide and various airborne metals. State investigators also discovered that GCMC unlawfully discharged wastewater that contained toxic and hazardous metals, including arsenic, cobalt and nickel. Soil samples tested near the defendant’s facility revealed dangerous levels of toxic metals, including antimony, chromium and lead.

Agreed final judgment against Gulf Chemical & Metallurgical Corporation
• Assesses civil penalties of $7.5 million against GCMC.
• Requires GCMC to institute real-time metals monitoring equipment. The monitoring system is new, cutting-edge technology that has never before been implemented at any other industrial facility in the State of Texas – and has only been utilized in a handful of plants nationally or internationally.

Largest settlements in Texas history related to a single source emitter
BP Products North America Inc. – $50 million in civil penalties for unlawful pollutant emissions at its Texas City refinery.
Huntsman Petrochemical Company – $9 million in civil penalties for unpermitted and unreported pollutant emissions at its Port Arthur facility.