(Washington, D.C. – January 20, 2021) – 

Overview of Corporation

The proprietors and/or operators of the four crops topic to this settlement are The Dow Chemical Company and its subsidiaries, Effectiveness Products NA, Inc, and Union Carbide Corporation (collectively “Dow”). The Dow Chemical Corporation is a publicly traded organization headquartered in Midland, Michigan.

The settlement involves the reduction of air pollution from petrochemical and chemical flares. A flare is a mechanical system, ordinarily elevated higher off the ground, used to combust squander gases.

The Condition of Louisiana joined the settlement as a co-plaintiff with the United States. 

The settlement covers 26 Dow flares at four services positioned in: Freeport, Texas Hahnville, Louisiana Orange, Texas and Plaquemine, Louisiana. The four amenities consist of two theory styles of chemical crops: 

  • Olefins Plants. The primary products of these plants are ethylene and propylene, both of those of which are olefins. Ethylene is a feedstock for the creation of consumer plastic merchandise this sort of as garbage bags, bread wrappers, packaging, and wire insulation. Propylene is also a feedstock utilized to create products these kinds of as carpet, upholstery, boats, and motor vehicle parts. 
  • Polymer Vegetation. The major items of these vegetation are distinct grades of polyethylene, a polymer. Polyethylene is the feedstock for the production of client solutions this sort of as food stuff containers/packaging, carpet backing, diapers, pipe, truck mattress liners, and transport crates. Polyethylene is the most frequent plastic in the environment.

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The criticism alleges violations of Clear Air Act necessities at Dow’s flares that resulted in excessive emissions of pollutants, like volatile natural compounds (VOCs) and many harmful air pollutants (HAPs) including benzene. The allegations contain violations of:

  • New Resource Critique/Avoidance of Sizeable Deterioration (NSR/PSD) and Minor New Supply Evaluation, 40 C.F.R. Sections 51 and 52
  • New Supply Overall performance Specifications (NSPS), 40 C.F.R. Part 60, Subparts A, Kb, DDD and NNN.
  • Countrywide Emission Expectations for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), 40 C.F.R. Component 61, Subparts A and FF.
  • NESHAP, 40 C.F.R. Section 63, Subparts A, F, G, H, Y, SS, XX, YY, and FFFF.
  • Title V and the Title V permits at Dow’s facilities.
  • Texas and Louisiana Point out Implementation Program (SIP) requirements.

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Injunctive Aid

The consent decree necessitates the next actions to solve the CAA promises:

  • Post and put into practice squander fuel minimization designs which are comprehensive options for lessening squander fuel to flares. 
  • Undertake a root induce assessment and implement corrective action for “reportable flaring incidents” (i.e., larger than 500,000 conventional cubic toes for each working day waste gasoline flow over baseload flows).
  • Put in new flare fuel recovery techniques at each facility. The programs will get better and “recycle” the gases as an alternative of sending them to be combusted in a flare. The flare fuel recovery techniques will enable Dow to reuse these gases as a gas at its services or a product or service for sale. The techniques will have the next minimum capacities: Freeport, Texas, 7.2 million typical cubic ft (mscf) for each day Hahnville, Louisiana, 10.08 mscf/working day Orange, Texas, 2.88 mscf/working day and Plaquemine, Louisiana, 14.4 mscf/working day.
  • The previously mentioned flare fuel restoration techniques will be expected to be available for operation a substantial percentage of time.
  • Install and run flare checking and manage equipment in purchase to guarantee substantial combustion effectiveness at all flares issue to the settlement.

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Pollutant Impacts

  • Nitrogen Oxides – Nitrogen oxides can cause ground-degree ozone, acid rain, particulate make a difference, global warming, water good quality deterioration, and visible impairment. Nitrogen oxides participate in a major purpose, with volatile natural substances, in the atmospheric reactions that develop ozone.  Youngsters, men and women with lung health conditions such as bronchial asthma, and individuals who get the job done or exercise outside are vulnerable to adverse outcomes this kind of as problems to lung tissue and reduction in lung purpose.
  • Unstable Organic and natural Compounds – VOCs, along with NOx, perform a key job in the atmospheric reactions that generate ozone, which is the most important constituent of smog.  People with lung disease, children, more mature adults, and men and women who are energetic can be impacted when ozone levels are harmful. Ground-level ozone exposure is joined to a selection of small-expression health and fitness problems, like lung irritation and issues breathing, as nicely as extended-expression problems, such as long-lasting lung damage from repeated publicity, aggravated asthma, decreased lung potential, and improved susceptibility to respiratory diseases these as pneumonia and bronchitis.
  • Benzene – Acute (shorter-phrase) inhalation publicity of human beings to benzene might cause drowsiness, dizziness, head aches, as well as eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation, and, at significant ranges, unconsciousness.  Long-term (very long-term) inhalation exposure has prompted a variety of issues in the blood, like reduced numbers of crimson blood cells and anemia in occupational settings.  Reproductive effects have been documented for women of all ages exposed by inhalation to superior stages, and adverse results on the creating fetus have been observed in animal assessments.  Amplified incidences of leukemia have been noticed in individuals occupationally exposed to benzene.  EPA has classified benzene as a Group A human carcinogen.
  • Particulate Make a difference – PM, in particular fantastic particles, consist of microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so modest that they can get deep into the lungs and result in really serious overall health troubles. PM is connected to a assortment of difficulties, like amplified respiratory indicators such as irritation of the airways, coughing, or difficulty respiration, decreased lung purpose, aggravated bronchial asthma, and premature dying in individuals with coronary heart or lung ailment.

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Wellbeing Outcomes and Environmental Advantages

When completely executed, the new controls and requirements less than the consent decree are believed to decrease emissions as follows:

  • VOCs by 5,689 tons for every year (tpy)
  • Harmful Air Pollutants by 480 tpy
  • Nitrogen Oxides by 127 tpy
  • Unquantifiable reductions of particulate matter.

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Civil Penalty

  • Dow will pay out a civil penalty of $3 million with $2.325 going to the U.S., and $675,000 heading to Louisiana.

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The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court docket for the Jap District of Louisiana, is subject to a 30-working day public remark time period and closing court acceptance.   Information and facts on submitting comment is available at the Division of Justice.

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Robert Parrish 
Legal professional
U.S. Environmental Security Company (2242A) 
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. 
Washington, DC 20460-0001 
(202) 564-6946
[email protected]

Patrick W. Foley 
Senior Environmental Engineer 
U.S. Environmental Security Company (2242A) 
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. 
Washington, DC 20460-0001 
(202) 564-7978 
[email protected]

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