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EPA Defends Ash Grove Cement Settlement

OPB | June 20, 2013 2:19 p.m. | Updated: June 24, 2013 10:14 a.m. | Portland

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The Environmental Protection Agency is defending the way it reached a settlement announced Wednesday with a cement-maker with operations in eastern Oregon.

Ash Grove Cement officials say they agreed to a $30 million settlement with the EPA to avoid the costs of defending the company in court against a federal initiative aimed at the cement industry.

The company says it has followed the Clean Air Act. The EPA raised concerns with the company about emissions at three plants, though the agency’s air quality director Phil Brooks says the facility in Durkee, Oregon wasn’t one of them.

Brooks says the deal covers all nine Ash Grove plants.

“This is a settlement that’s called a ‘global settlement’ – where we offer a company the opportunity to resolve all of its potential new source review liability, or any particular kind of liability – all at once.”

Brooks applauds the company for choosing to address air pollution, rather than resisting.

Ash Grove agreed to new pollution controls, but officials and regulators disagree on how much those will cut emissions.

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