Firestone agrees to resolve multiple Clean Air Act violations

Published 6:02 pm Thursday, September 30, 2021

Firestone Polymers has agreed to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and several other federal and state environmental laws at the company’s synthetic rubber manufacturing facility in Sulphur.
The company will also pay a total of $3.35 million in civil penalties.
The settlement requires several actions from Firestone, including meeting emissions limits, operating and maintenance requirements, equipment controls, limiting hazardous air pollutants from facility dryers, conducting inspections of heat exchangers, installing controls and monitors on covered flares, and installing flaring instrumentation and monitoring systems.

After being notified of the violations but prior to the consent decree being lodged, Firestone took other compliance measures, including installing and operating a regenerative thermal oxidizer system to receive waste gases from dryers, reducing n-hexane solvent concentrations and inspecting and testing heat exchangers.

The Department of Justice, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency and co-plaintiff Louisiana Department of Environment Quality filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. The complaint alleges the facility emitted excess amounts of pollutants including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and hazardous air pollutants including 1,3-butadiene, n-hexane, styrene, formaldehyde, methanol, and others and failed to comply with requirements related to equipment such as dryers, cooling towers, and flares; leak detection and repair; mechanical integrity; and monitoring and reporting.
The complaint also asserts violations of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act; the Pollution Prevention Act; and Louisiana state air pollution control requirements.
“Businesses such as Firestone Polymers have a sacred obligation to protect Louisiana’s environment and to use our natural resources wisely,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook for the Western District of Louisiana. “This settlement sends a clear message that those who don’t honor this obligation will be held accountable.”