The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement in early May with the Nevada Cement Co. to install new air pollution control technology at its Fernley, Nev. facility and replace a heavy-duty diesel truck and a diesel railcar mover at the facility with clean emissions vehicles. The agreement improves Nevada Cement’s compliance with federal clean air laws and resolves alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.
The new air pollution control equipment will reduce harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a pollutant that can lead to childhood asthma and smog. The upgrade will reduce NOx emissions by approximately 1,140 tons per year.
“This settlement will result in reduced air pollution in the greater Reno area,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA's Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The company’s facility upgrades will protect the health of workers and improve air quality for residents.”
According to a complaint filed in federal court by the U.S. Department of Justice on EPA’s behalf, Nevada Cement made major modifications to its plant that led to significant increased emissions of NOx, without first obtaining a permit required by the Clean Air Act, and without installing necessary pollution control equipment. Major sources of air pollution are required to obtain such permits before making changes that would result in significant emissions increases of NOx and other pollutants.
NOx contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone, commonly referred to as smog. Exposure to even low levels of ozone can cause respiratory problems, and repeated exposure can aggravate pre-existing respiratory diseases.
As part of the agreement, Nevada Cement will also pay a $550,000 civil penalty.