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Protecting the Environment

For immediate release – Monday, September 8, 2003.
Contact Bob Brammer – 515-281-6699.

Lehigh Cement Company to Install $33 Million in Air Pollution Control Equipment

Lehigh and State settle major air pollution control case. New equipment at Mason City plant expected to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 5,000 tons per year.

Mason City. Lehigh Cement Company will install new air pollution control facilities to control sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions at its large portland cement plant just north of downtown Mason City.

Attorney General Tom Miller said today that the State has settled a major air pollution control enforcement case against Lehigh. Cerro Gordo County Judge James M. Drew approved a Consent Order, Judgment and Decree today in Mason City, ending over three years of litigation.

Under terms of the consent decree, draft permits will be issued by the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources for Lehigh to install the new air pollution control equipment at an estimated cost of over $33 million, and annual operating costs of over $3 million.

The proposed DNR permits would allow Lehigh to increase production capacity at the plant, but sulfur dioxide pollution will be reduced by over 5,000 tons per year with the new equipment,” Miller said. Sulfur dioxide is the major air pollution concern at the plant.

This is a win for everyone concerned,” Miller said. “Air pollution will be reduced dramatically, and the plant will be allowed to increase production capacity. The new equipment will use the best available pollution control technology. I commend Lehigh and the DNR for forging a very good resolution to this matter.” The Environmental Law Division handled the case for Miller’s office.

The State lawsuit alleged that Lehigh had expanded its facility but failed to comply with requirements designed to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, including that Lehigh go through a permit application process with the DNR and use “best available control technology.”

The Consent Order also assessed a civil penalty of $150,000 and recognized that after the suit was filed Lehigh paid additional operating fees sought by the State totaling nearly $250,000.

The draft DNR permits approved by the settlement will be issued for public notice and comment.

Lehigh Cement Company is based in Pennsylvania and is one of the largest cement producers in the U.S.

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