Friday, July 21, 2017

GASP Files Notice Of Intent To Sue Armstrong Cement For Air Violations In Butler County

The Pittsburgh-based Group Against Smog and Pollution Tuesday announced it had provided notice that it intends to file a citizen suit under the federal Clean Air Act and Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act against Armstrong Cement & Supply, Inc., for violations of the Title V Operating Permit for its cement manufacturing facility located in Cabot, Butler County.
GASP believes that Armstrong Cement has not been operating continuous emission monitors for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, as it is legally required to, since at least mid-December of 2015.
The last submitted report by Armstrong Cement regarding the results of its continuous monitoring of these air pollutants occurred in November 2015. This report indicated Armstrong was violating limits on sulfur dioxide emissions from its kiln exhaust stacks frequently.
In a January 2016 monitoring report submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection, Armstrong stated that its kilns were not operated in late 2015 so that new pollution controls required by federal regulations could be installed.
Armstrong apparently installed those controls but neglected to re-install the continuous emission monitors for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that its operating permit requires. Because no monitoring reports have been submitted since November 2015, it is impossible to know whether Armstrong is complying.
Sulfur dioxide is a gas with a pungent, offensive odor. It reacts easily with other substances to form harmful compounds such as sulfuric acid, sulfurous acid, and sulfate particles. Nitrogen oxides include the gases nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
Nitrogen oxides react with other chemicals in the air to form particulate matter and ozone (both of which are also harmful when inhaled). Longer exposures to elevated levels of NO2 may contribute to development of asthma and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections.
Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxides irritate the nose, throat, and airways, causing coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Those at greater risk of developing problems if exposed to these pollutants are people with asthma or other respiratory conditions, as well as children and the elderly.
“Without the emission monitors required by Armstrong’s operating permit, it is impossible to know whether Armstrong is complying with limitations on its emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides,” said John Baillie, an attorney for GASP.
The notice of intent to sue is the first step in initiating a citizen lawsuit to enforce emissions standards under the Clean Air Act. If the violations remain unresolved 60 days after giving notice, the citizen suit can proceed in federal district court.
For more information, visit the Group Against Smog and Pollution website.

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