EPA: Cleaning up air pollution from a New Orleans factory | Louisiana News

CHALMETTE, Louisiana (AP) – Federal regulators have announced plans to have Louisiana and a suburban New Orleans fuel plant clean up emissions that have violated air quality standards since at least 2013 .

The Environmental Protection Agency has said a plant owned by Rain CII Carbon LLC of Stamford, Connecticut, is spitting sulfur dioxide into the air in St. Bernard Parish, The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported. .

The Chalmette plant said in March 2013 that it was responsible for most of this chemical in the parish air, the newspaper noted.

The plant and Louisiana received an October 2018 cleanup deadline, and the EPA says that was not met. People have until January 6 to comment on the proposal released earlier this month.

Rain Carbon Inc. did not respond to requests for comment, the newspaper reported.

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The EPA’s proposal calls for giving the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality one year to submit a cleanup plan.

The agency cited the parish in 2013 for failing to meet sulfur dioxide standards – a complaint based on data from 2009 to 2011, according to the Federal Register’s proposal.

Earlier citations from the state agency have included at least $ 75,000 in fines and $ 7,200 in enforcement fees to settle nearly 150 violations of state regulations between 2006 and 2013, the newspaper reported. .

Rain turns an oil refinery by-product into calcined coke, a rock-like fuel used to make aluminum. The production of coke releases large amounts of sulfur dioxide, a colorless gas that can irritate the nose and throat, impair breathing, and cause lung disease. People with asthma, especially children, are very sensitive to sulfur dioxide.

State officials say Rain has significantly reduced emissions. But the EPA said the combined sulfur dioxide emissions from Rain and other plants in St. Bernard still exceed the federal standard for sulfur dioxide. This does not allow more than 75 parts per billion of chemical for a period of one hour, this average being maintained for three years.

As part of a state plan required by federal law, the Environmental Quality Department in 2017 and 2018 ordered Rain to change its manufacturing processes to control sulfur dioxide levels.

However, Rain said conventional meters have melted, making it difficult to find a way to monitor the heat and flow of gas and other materials.

In 2019, when Donald Trump was president, US Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La., Joined the state agency to convince the EPA to delay the plan.

Now, under Democratic President Joe Biden, the agency is taking action.

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