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CountryMark paying $18 million for pollution controls

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Southwestern Indiana oil refiner CountryMark is spending $18 million on new pollution controls to settle Clean Air Act violations.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday that CountryMark will spend the money on improved pollution controls such as flares at its refinery in Mount Vernon, about 20 miles west of Evansville.

Officials alleged Indianapolis-based CountryMark violated the law when it expanded operations without obtaining proper permits and installing necessary pollution controls. CountryMark began a $20 million expansion of the plant in 2007, which was expected to increase its capacity to 45 million barrels a year.

The settlement is part of a larger drive by federal authorities to enforce the Clean Air Act. Officials have negotiated settlements with 32 other refineries for a total of $6 billion to curb pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that contribute to acid rain and smog. The EPA estimates the new controls have reduced pollutants by 360,000 tons a year.

The refiner would improve its flaring devices, which burn off waste gases, and limit the amount of gases sent through the flares.

"These innovative controls include ensuring that pollution control devices, such as flares, are operated properly to minimize pollution emitted into the air and to improve their overall efficiency," Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said in a statement.

The state, represented by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, will also receive $110,000 in the settlement that will pay for the removal of asbestos from an old grain elevator in downtown Mt. Vernon. CountryMark will also pay $70,000 to help retrofit diesel-engine school buses.

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  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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