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Koch Nitrogen to pay $380,000 to settle EPA claims

  • Eagle staff
  • Published Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, at 2:13 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, at 12:10 p.m.

Editor's note: Information regarding the reason for the alleged violation has been added to this story.

A Koch Nitrogen Company, a subsidiary of Wichita-based Koch Industries, has agreed to pay a $380,000 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at facilities in Iowa and Dodge City.

According to a news release from the Environmental Protection Agency, federal inspections of three of Koch’s facilities in 2007 and 2009 revealed violations of the risk management program required by the Clean Air Act.

The inspected facilities are in Fort Dodge and Marshalltown, Iowa, and Dodge City. The Fort Dodge and Dodge City facilities manufacture ammonia and urea-ammonium nitrate solution. The Marshalltown facility is a pipeline terminal at which anhydrous ammonia is removed from an interstate pipeline or from highway tank trucks and stored on the property.

The EPA found that “the facilities had issues with the management system, had not fully implemented the prevention program requirements, had not adequately coordinated with local first responders, and failed to include all required information in the risk management plan.”

''This entire enforcement action revolves around the fact they had not developed a proper risk management plan,'' EPA spokesman Ben Washburn told The Messenger in Fort Dodge, Iowa. ''It's not about any release or spill.''

“Koch Nitrogen worked cooperatively with the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fully resolve these issues,” said Melissa Cohlmia, director of corporate communications for Koch. “We believe the dialogue has been constructive and that both sides benefited and learned from the discussions. The resulting settlement reflects the strong protections we provide in our facility risk management programs.”

“A proper risk management program is an important component of preventing accidental releases into the air of harmful substances and to reduce the severity of releases that do occur,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks, in a statement that was part of the news release. “This penalty sends a strong message to Koch and other companies that EPA expects adherence to all aspects of the Clean Air Act.”

As a result of this settlement, Koch Nitrogen has certified that it is in full compliance with Clean Air Act.

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