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Cabot signs consent decree with EPA on US carbon black plants

Last wee, Cabot Corporation announced it had entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in connection with the EPA’s national enforcement initiative to control air emissions from industrial sources including carbon black manufacturing facilities. Under the the consent decree, Cabot agreed to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOX), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM) from its three U.S. carbon black plants located in Franklin and Ville Platte, LA, and Pampa, TX.

As a part of the settlement, Cabot has committed to install advanced control technology and continuous emission monitoring systems on its U.S. plants. The control technologies will be installed and commissioned over a six and a half year time period at a cost of approximately $85 million. Cabot will be identifying means to recover the impact of this investment over time. Although Cabot has not acknowledged any noncompliance, under the settlement agreement the company has agreed to a civil penalty payment of $975,000, all of which was previously accrued by the Company. Cabot has further agreed to invest approximately $450,000 toward environmental mitigation projects that will be focused on energy efficiency improvements in the communities where the three U.S. carbon black manufacturing plants are located.

Patrick Prevost, Cabot president and chief executive officer, said in a press release, “As the first party in our industry sector to come to an agreement with the USEPA, we also believe this will set the standard for the entire U.S. carbon black industry.”

This process has been underway since 2008/2009, when the EPA made Clean Air Act Section 114 information requests of many US carbon black production facilities, requiring details of capital expenditures over the last 20 years.

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