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EPA fines Mason City cement manufacturer for alleged Clean Air Act violations

LENEXA, KAN. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will collect a $197,500 penalty from Lehigh Cement Company LLC, a Mason City, Iowa, cement manufacturer, to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. According to EPA, the company is a “major air emission source” that failed to comply with state and federal regulations intended to limit harmful releases of air pollution.

After reviewing Lehigh Cement Company’s facility records in 2019 and 2020, EPA alleged that the company exceeded Clean Air Act emissions limits, failed to submit required reports to the state, and failed to conduct required testing of equipment. EPA also determined that air pollution from the facility may affect nearby overburdened communities.

Under the terms of the settlement with EPA, Lehigh Cement Company is required to conduct additional air emissions testing to demonstrate ongoing compliance with the Clean Air Act.

Reducing air pollution from the largest sources of emissions, including cement manufacturing plants, is a top priority for EPA. Cement plants are the third largest industrial source of air pollution, emitting more than 500,000 tons per year of pollutants, including particulate matter.

Exposure to these small particle pollutants can affect the lungs and heart. Scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including premature death in people with heart or lung disease, heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, increased respiratory symptoms, and coughing or difficulty breathing. People with heart or lung diseases, children, and older adults are the most likely to be affected by particle pollution exposure.

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