Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (July 18, 2007) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Office of the Attorney General today filed a Consent Decree in Baltimore City Circuit Court to address air pollution violations that occurred at the Mettiki Coal facility in Oakland (Garrett County). Mettiki violated state air pollution requirements when its thermal coal dryer emitted sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere in excess of permitted levels.

“Sulfur dioxide leads to the formation of fine particles that impact public health,” said MDE Secretary Shari T. Wilson. “Much of Maryland exceeds federal standards for fine particles. Fine particle pollution is a significant health issue. These requirements are designed to prevent future exceedances of sulfur dioxide levels at this facility.”

The Decree requires Mettiki to pay a $150,000 civil penalty. Mettiki is required to conduct monthly inspections on the scrubber and to measure and record scrubber operational parameters continuously to ensure optimal performance of the pollution control equipment. If optimal performance levels are not met, Mettiki will be required to make improvements to the air pollution control equipment (scrubber) that controls the thermal coal dryer. Mettiki is also required to increase sulfur dioxide emission testing from annually to semi-annually on the scrubber system that controls the thermal coal dryer. If Mettiki fails a future sulfur dioxide test, the company must install additional air pollution control equipment.

“Mettiki Coal has been a repeat violator of Maryland’s air pollution laws,” said Attorney General Doug Gansler. “Working in partnership with MDE, we will continue to strictly enforce our clean air laws to protect the environment and the health of all Marylanders.”

Due to the nature and size of the emissions and violations of this case, and because of previous enforcement actions taken against Mettiki for similar violations, this case has been reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a High Priority Violator.

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