It was reported last month that life-threatening toxins are leaking from a manufacturing facility in Lowndes County, Ala. The SABIC plastics plant on U.S. Highway 80 (the old GE Plastics plant) will have to pay $1 million dollars for failing to comply with federal environmental regulations. The chemicals coming from the plant have nearby residents concerned and apparently for good reason.
According to a report released by the Environmental Protection Agency, the SABIC plant recently violated 14 Clean Air Act requirements. Some of the violations include:
• Failure to monitor and repair leaking equipment
• Failure to comply with chemical plant regulations
• Failure to properly monitor potential leaks
• Failure to fix leaks in a timely fashion
The EPA’s report says the leaking pollutants can cause serious health effects such as cancer, reproductive issues and birth defects. Thus far, there have been no reports of illness. But there could be problems down the road. It could take five, ten or more years before the problems pop up. SABIC executives released a statement:
I certainly hope it’s not going to be a problem because like Sam said, we have to live here. Protecting the environment and preserving our natural resources are important to the communities in which we operate and important to SABIC. 100% compliance is our goal with all applicable state and federal regulations and, where possible, we strive to go beyond regulatory compliance to achieve safety and environmental excellence for our employees and community. We continually strive to minimize our impact on the environment and implement projects to incorporate environmentally-friendly programs. Several of the manufacturing sites in the US were the subject of routine compliance audits initiated by the EPA in 2005. The EPA inspections broadly evaluated environmental compliance status, which was found to be very good in most areas. However, they revealed concerns in air compliance programs at two of the sites that we acquired in 2007. The company immediately began to address the concerns following the inspections and, in addition, implemented further programs to ensure full compliance going forward.
The EPA report says when SABIC complies with the regulations it will reduce hazardous emissions by 144 tons per year. We will continue to monitor this situation. Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it appears to be without more study and evaluation.
Source: WSFA News
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