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For immediate release Tuesday, February 16, 2010.
Contact Bob Brammer 515-281-6699, Rbrammer@ag.state.ia.us

Court Orders $1,000,000 Penalty
for Air Pollution Violations
by Roquette America Inc. at Keokuk Plant

The State alleged Roquette’s corn wet milling facility had excess emissions of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and other compounds.

Keokuk, Iowa. Attorney General Tom Miller announced Tuesday that Roquette America Inc. is paying a $1 million environmental civil penalty for air pollution violations at Roquette’s corn wet milling facility in Keokuk, Iowa.

“This is a major penalty for significant air pollution violations,” Miller said. “We believe Roquette is now committed to taking the steps necessary to insure compliance and reduce air pollution emissions.”

Miller said the $1 million civil penalty equals the largest environmental penalty ever paid in Iowa, matching a million-dollar penalty paid by ADM for environmental violations in the ‘90s.

The penalty was assessed as part of a Consent Order, Judgment and Decree agreed-to by the State and Roquette, and approved Tuesday morning by Lee County District Court Judge Mary Ann Brown, who ordered the penalty and other terms of the agreement. The decree resolves air pollution violations alleged in a lawsuit also filed Tuesday by Miller’s office in Lee County. [Go to: lawsuit petition filed 2-16-10. Go to: Consent Order, Judgment and Decree entered 2-16-10.]

The lawsuit, filed by Miller on behalf of the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources, alleged:

  • Roquette failed to implement required “best available control technology” and obtain a “PSD” permit when it made major plant modifications that increased air pollution emissions from several natural gas dryers. (“PSD” permits and requirements are designed to prevent significant deterioration when plants undergo major modifications.)

  • Roquette repeatedly exceeded its air pollution emission limitations under existing permits for particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and carbon monoxide.

The Roquette corn wet milling facility is located at 1003 South 5th Street in Keokuk. The facility manufactures a variety of corn starches, starch derivatives and other products of the corn wet milling process, including corn syrup, food- and pharmaceutical-grade dextrose, and other products.

The Order entered Tuesday by Judge Brown requires Roquette to take numerous steps, including:

  • Roquette must obtain permits and construct a new “feedhouse” with more efficient equipment and better air pollution controls. (The feedhouse makes animal feed from by-products of corn processing; the old feedhouse caused the excess emissions.)

  • Roquette must implement an “environmental management information system” for air pollution control and management of hazardous waste, solid waste, and wastewater.

  • Roquette is prohibited from further violations, and is subject to stipulated penalties of up to $10,000 per day per violation if it fails to comply with terms of the Court’s order.

  • Roquette must pay, and has paid, the $1 million civil penalty to the State.

  • "Roquette already has submitted permit applications to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for construction of the new feedhouse,” Miller said. “The new facilities will result in reduced air pollution emissions.”

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