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air pollution 12 articles

Benzene Pollution Leads to $775,000 Fine for Birmingham Coal Company

As Alabama coal company that was belching more than 10 times the amount of benzene it had been reporting to state and federal regulators will pay $775,000 in penalties. Birmingham, Alabama-based Drummond Company, one of Alabama’s largest coal operations, agreed to the settlement eight years after the Jefferson County Board of Health inspectors and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered that the company’s foundry coke facilities were releasing hazardous levels of benzene into the air. According to the County and the EPA, both of which have gone to great lengths to shield Drummond from the community’s concerns, the company ... Read More

Shell Chemical To Reduce Benzene, Other Pollutants at Louisiana Facility

Toxic benzene and other harmful emissions will be drastically reduced in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, thanks to a $10 million settlement between Shell Chemical LP and federal and state authorities who accused the chemical corporation of illegally discharging tons of air pollutants. The settlement comes in the form of a consent decree requiring Shell Chemical to invest $10 million in the installation and operation of air pollution control and monitoring technology at the company’s Norco, Louisiana chemical plant. The equipment is expected to reduce annual benzene emissions by about 18 tons per year and other environmentally harmful volatile organic compounds ... Read More

VW Emissions Settlements Don’t Affect County Claims, Plaintiffs Argue

Settlements resolving claims over Volkswagen’s (VW) emissions cheat and the federal Clean Air Act do not bar air pollution complaints lodged by Hillsborough County, Florida, and Salt Lake County, Utah, lawyers for the counties told a California federal court. Volkswagen is pressing the U.S. District Court in San Francisco to toss the counties’ claims that they are entitled to compensation for pollution caused by VW’s emissions cheat under state laws. Those complaints are currently included in multidistrict litigation (MDL) consolidated in the California court. In 2014, West Virginia University researchers and other members of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) discovered ... Read More

Taos, NM Choked By Air Pollution From Runway Paving Project

The town of Taos, N.M., has been enshrouded for weeks in a noxious smog emanating from a runway paving project at Taos Regional Airport, raising concerns that benzene and a spectrum of other life-threatening chemical compounds and heavy metals are harming local residents and the environment. “If you’re so inclined to take a drive out to the Gorge, you will be treated not only to the beauty of the mesa, but also a noxious belching smoke stack from about 8 a.m. to the late afternoon,” the Taos News said in a recent report. “One will also be able to see that ... Read More

Southern California Settles Gas Leak Criminal Case For $4 Million

The gas company responsible for a massive gas leak that polluted the air in the Los Angeles area for months has agreed to pay $4 million to settle criminal charges stemming from its failure to properly notify authorities about the leak. Southern California Gas Co. (SoCal Gas) pleaded no contest to end a criminal case brought against it by Los Angeles County prosecutors, who alleged the utility waited days to report its gas leak near Porter Ranch, which blasted tons of methane gas into the air from Oct. 23, 2015, until Feb. 18, 2016. While the agreement settles the county’s ... Read More

New Study Demonstrates The Power Of Common Houseplants In Cleaning Up Air Pollution

Common houseplants may be much more effective in removing volatile organic compounds and other pollutants harmful to humans from the air than ventilation systems, according to a new study. Dr. Vadoud Niri, who teaches analytical chemistry at the State University of New York at Oswego, told the Washington Post the idea for the study of houseplants as air cleaners came to him when he went into a nail salon with his wife and immediately walked out because he could smell the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air. VOCs are compounds that easily change from liquid form to vapor. Common ... Read More

Sriracha factory resumes hot sauce operations amid fume complaints

IRWINDALE, Calif. –A potential shortage of Huy Fong-brand Sriracha hot sauce that some fans of the product dubbed “Srirachapocalypse” has been averted, now that a state-imposed ban on the production and shipment of the popular hot sauce has expired. Irwindale, Calif.-based Huy Fong Foods was forced to halt production in November after a Los Angeles judge responded to complaints from local residents that fumes emitting from the factory were causing symptoms akin to tear gas exposure. Many residents complained that the fumes, created by mashing tons of red jalapeno peppers and garlic, were also disruptive because they forced people to ... Read More

Sriracha factory stays open as judge delays ruling on possible shutdown

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge delayed a ruling Friday on whether to allow the Irwindale, Calif., Sriracha hot sauce plant to continue production or to order a temporary factory shutdown. The city sued Huy Fong Foods on Oct. 28, seeking to suspend its Sriracha sauce production after dozens of city residents complained of harmful and disruptive fumes emanating from the factory. Judge Robert O’Brien’s decision to delay the ruling could allow the giant 600,000-square-foot factory to continue operating for another year, as the part of the production process involving grinding tons of red jalapeno peppers ... Read More

Air pollution agency detects Sriracha sauce factory fumes, city presses forward with lawsuit

IRWINDALE, Calif. – A California agency charged with monitoring air pollution in the Los Angeles area has detected the scent of chile peppers and garlic emitting from a Sriracha hot sauce factory. The odor has prompted numerous complaints from nearby residents who say the vapors burn their eyes and throat. Huy Fong Foods, Inc., which produces the world-famous pepper sauce, recently started production at its new 600,000-square foot factory in Irwindale. Since then, complaints from locals about the scorching vapors have mounted. In October, the city took legal action against Huy Fong in an effort to have operations at the ... Read More

Arkansas attorney general concerned says residents still sick after ExxonMobil oil spill

Mayflower, Ark., residents, including a number of children, are continuing to experience adverse health effects after ExxonMobil’s’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured, Dustin McDaniel, the state’s Attorney General said Tuesday. ExxonMobil’s pipeline breached on March 29, spilling about 5,000 barrels of highly toxic Canadian tar sands oil into a neighborhood and surrounding land. Mr. McDaniels said that town residents continue to suffer from headaches, nausea, and other adverse symptoms after more than a month after the spill. “As we met with residents and groups that represent them … I heard time and time again about their concerns for their health, especially the ... Read More