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EPA amends consent decree with GP at Crossett, AR, mill; GP to pay civil penalty, perform supplemental projects

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EPA amends consent decree with GP at Crossett, AR, mill; GP to pay civil penalty, perform supplemental projects

February 06, 2020 - 17:44
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DALLAS, Feb. 5, 2020 (Press Release) -The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has lodged an Amended Consent Decree with Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC and Georgia-Pacific Consumer Operations LLC (Georgia-Pacific) that resolves alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) at the companies’ paper and chemical manufacturing facilities in Crossett, Arkansas. The Amended Consent Decree revises the terms of an earlier Consent Decree lodged in December 2018. Upon approval of Consent Decree by the U.S. District Court, Georgia-Pacific will pay a civil penalty and has agreed to perform alternative Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) that enhance the emergency response capabilities in the local community and reduce the potential for harmful air emissions from the facilities.  

The Amended Consent Decree includes three alternative SEPs to benefit the Crossett community. They require Georgia-Pacific to replace their vacuum pump system to collect waste gases, construct a storage tank to reduce the risk area of a hazardous air pollutant in the event of a release, and purchase a long-ladder fire truck for the city of Crossett Fire Department.

EPA, the Department of Justice and the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment, Division of Environmental Quality, lodged the original Consent Decree with Georgia-Pacific in December 2018, stemming from EPA inspection of the facilities in 2015. EPA hosted a community meeting on the Consent Decree on February 7, 2019, and the public comment period closed February 28, 2019 for the original Consent Decree. The Amended Consent Decree was prompted by Georgia-Pacific’s June 4, 2019 announcement of its intention to permanently shut down some equipment and processes supporting the pulp mill portion of its paper manufacturing operations at its Crossett facility near the end of 2019.  The intended shutdown will also result in a reduction of harmful air emissions from the facility. The Amended Consent Decree incorporates these operational changes intended to take place at the facility. In addition to implementing the alternative SEPs, Georgia-Pacific will also pay $600,000 in civil penalties as was required in the original lodged Consent Decree.

The Amended Consent Decree lodged Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. It will be available for viewing Decrees.html.