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Court Orders $560,000 Penalty for Air Pollution Violations at Keokuk Plant

The state alleged a corn wet milling facility operated by Roquette America, Inc., increased sulfur dioxide emissions as a result of changing boiler fuels.

DES MOINES. Attorney General Tom Miller said today that Lee County District Court Judge Mary Ann Brown has entered judgment against Roquette America, Inc., assessing a $560,000 civil penalty for air pollution violations at Roquette's corn wet milling facility in Keokuk.

The Court's order is contained in a "Consent Order, Judgment and Decree" entered late this morning at Lee County District Court in Keokuk. The State's allegations were contained in a lawsuit also filed today at the Court.

The suit alleged: "Roquette illegally modified its method of operations by changing from use of coal to a blended fuel of coal and petroleum coke, resulting in significant increases in sulfur dioxide emissions, without complying with State and federal requirements to prevent significant deterioration of air quality."

The court ordered Roquette to submit a permit application within 30 days for construction of a new boiler which will apply the best available control technology and comply with all applicable air pollution control requirements. The court also permanently enjoined Roquette from further violations.

According to the lawsuit, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources determined that Roquette had illegally changed its fuel for certain emission units from coal (which had been approved) to a blended fuel of coal and petroleum coke. Petroleum coke is a by-product from oil refineries and is composed mainly of carbon with high levels of sulfur and heavy metals. The suit alleged that Roquette illegally changed to the blended fuel for its boilers in 2000 and discontinued use of the blended fuel in 2002.

The Roquette corn wet milling facility is located at 1003 South 5th Street in Keokuk. The facility manufactures a variety of corn starches, starch derivatives and other products of the corn wet milling process, including corn syrup, food- and pharmaceutical-grade dextrose, and other products.

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