Milton ethanol plant settles pollution suit
The judgment stems from a complaint filed Oct. 28, alleging 15 violations of state air pollution laws, according to a state Department of Justice news release.
The complaint stated that United Ethanol exceeded the air-emission limits of its permit and failed to install, operate and maintain air pollution control equipment.
The plant, which opened in 2007, has faced air-quality complaints from neighbors and the state Department of Natural Resources.
The judgment requires the plant to hire an environmental consultant to conduct an environmental compliance audit.
United Ethanol issued a statement Monday, saying it did not agree to liability in the case but agreed to the penalties, which it negotiated with the state Department of Justice.
“We’re not interested in spending the excessive amount of money it would cost to litigate the case,” said company president David Cramer, as quoted in the release.
“United Ethanol continually undergoes testing to make sure our equipment is working properly and we’re in compliance with our permits, so completing these environmental compliance audits annually will fit in well with our current testing and auditing activities,” Cramer said.
United Ethanol says it has installed equipment over the past few years to address the concerns.
The penalties will be paid in $70,000 increments over 10 years. About $510,000 will go to the State School Fund, $51,085 to the state’s environmental fund, $132,822 to law enforcement training and the state Department of Administration and a 1 percent surcharge to the county’s jail fund, a Department of Justice spokeswoman said.
The Milton plant produces 42 million gallons of ethanol each year, according to the news release, along with distiller’s grain for animal feed, carbon dioxide for food processing and beverages and corn oil for biodiesel, the news release states.