Published on November 19, 2013

Cabot agrees to pay fine, improve carbon black facilities

WASHINGTON—Cabot Corp. has agreed to pay a $975,000 civil penalty and spend more than $84 million to control air pollution at three Texas and Louisiana carbon black facilities under a consent agreement reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

Also under the agreement, Cabot is required to spend $450,000 on energy saving and pollution projects to benefit the communities of Franklin and Villa Platte, La., and Pampa, Texas, where the carbon black plants are located, the EPA said.

To be filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, the consent decree is the first to result from an EPA national enforcement initiative to bring U.S. carbon black manufacturers into compliance with the Clean Air Act's New Source Review provisions, the EPA said in a Nov. 19 news release.

The Louisiana DEQ will receive $292,500 of the civil penalty, the EPA said.

"With today's commitment to invest in pollution controls, Cabot has raised the industry standard for environmental protection," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator at the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "These upgrades will have lasting, tangible impacts on improved respiratory health for local communities."

Between 2003 and 2009, Cabot made major modifications at its carbon black facilities without obtaining pre-construction permits or installing and operating the pollution technology required under the Clean Air Act, according to the complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the EPA.

These actions caused increased emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, the complaint said.

The EPA expects the measures proposed in the consent agreement to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by approximately 1,975 tons annually and sulfur oxide emissions by approximately 12,380 tons annually. They also should significantly improve particulate matter controls at the three Cabot facilities, the agency said.

There will be a 45-day comment period on the consent decree once it has been filed with the Louisiana court, the EPA said. Once the court approves the agreement, Cabot will have 30 days to pay the $975,000 penalty, the agency said.

The decree may be viewed online here.

Officials of Cabot Corp. could not be reached for comment.

Loading Comments Loading comments...