Twelve Minnesota ethanol companies agree to US air pollution deal

By OGJ editors

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 3 -- The Department of Justice, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Minnesota Oct. 2 announced civil settlements with 12 ethanol plants in Minnesota for alleged Clean Air Act violations.

The settlements are the first agreements to mandate reductions in air pollution from fuel ethanol producers, US officials said.

Under the settlements, the plants will install thermal oxidizers that reduce volatile organic compounds, a smog precursor, by 95% from the feed dryers and meet new, more restrictive emissions limits for nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and other hazardous air pollutants. In addition to emissions control requirements estimated to cost $2 million/plant, each facility will also pay a civil penalty of $29,000-39,000, US air pollution enforcement officials said.

The government alleges that the facilities were operating in violation of the Clean Air Act's New Source Review (NSR) provisions. The NSR program requires plant operators to install pollution controls and undertake other preconstruction obligations to control air pollution emissions, US officials said.

Last week, the Sierra Club announced its intention to sue two Midwest ethanol producers to force Clean Air Act compliance (OGJ Online, Sept. 30, 2002). The settlement with Ethanol 2000 in Minnesota addresses concerns raised by the Sierra Club and will bring about full compliance at that facility, Justice officials said. The other facility that Sierra Club intended to name in its lawsuit is operated by New Energy Corp. of South Bend, Ind.; that and other plants may still be targeted, Sierra Club officials said.

The consent decrees were lodged in federal district court in Minneapolis and are subject to a 30-day comment period.

Reaction
Ethanol fuel producer representatives called the announcement part of a "cooperative process" between regulators and the ethanol industry. They said discussions yielded a resolution less than 4 months after EPA and industry representatives met in Chicago last June to discuss new emissions data.

"I think it should be noted that these ethanol producers did not delay and did not go to court, said Bob Dinneen, Renewable Fuels Association president. "The cooperative response will guarantee that necessary modifications are implemented in the quickest possible timeframe. The public was the real winner today. Quite frankly, this cooperative engagement with the regulators could serve as a model for industries in the future when confronted with new, unexpected data."

Ethanol fuel critics, meanwhile, said that they question what the impact of the decision would have on smaller producers with limited access to capital.

Related Articles

Obama makes Alaska’s Bristol Bay off-limits for oil, gas activity

12/17/2014 US President Barack Obama placed Bristol Bay off-limits for future oil and gas leasing, extending a temporary withdrawal he imposed in 2010 that wa...

New York state moves to ban hydraulic fracturing

12/17/2014 High-volume hydraulic fracturing will be banned in the state of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced Dec. 17, citing health risks...

BPC report examines 40 possible options to reform RFS

12/16/2014 The Bipartisan Policy Center issued a report outlining 40 possible options for reforming the federal Renewable Fuels Standard in an effort to move ...

Senate passes Defense bill with BLM drilling permit program provision

12/15/2014 The US Senate approved a Department of Defense appropriations bill on Dec. 13 containing a provision extending and making permanent a drilling perm...

Mitigating methane

12/15/2014

Among greenhouse gases, methane should be particularly amenable to deliberate cuts in emissions.

Study: To cool climate, eat less less meat, milk

12/15/2014

Meeting stated goals for Earth's climate requires not only using pricey energy but also spurning animal protein.

API: Producers reducing methane emissions already

12/15/2014 US oil and gas producers are reducing wellhead methane emissions already and don't need ill-conceived, overly prescriptive federal regulations, Ame...

A message from Oil & Gas Journal

12/15/2014

An important transition occurred during production of this issue of Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

EPA approves Magellan’s Corpus Christi splitter project

12/12/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final greenhouse gas prevention of significant deterioration construction permit to Magellan Pr...

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected