ST. PAUL – Suzlon Rotor Corp., a manufacturer of wind turbine blades in Pipestone, has paid a $19,000 penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for alleged violations of air quality regulations. According to the MPCA, the company failed to obtain an air quality permit prior to construction and operation of the facility.
With the potential to emit 27 tons per year of hazardous air pollutants, 17 tons of which could be xylene, the company is subject to federal standards for hazardous air pollutants. Xylene includes types of benzene used as solvents.
Construction of the plant began without an air quality permit in November 2005, and the facility began operation one year later. State law requires facilities to submit plans and receive permits prior to facility construction and operation in order to monitor pollutants and ensure that they do not exceed regulatory standards.
The company did not apply for the required air quality permit until June 2007. Annual air emissions inventories for 2005 and 2006, which would have been required in a permit, were not received until December 2007.
The settlement, known as a stipulation agreement, is one of the tools used to achieve compliance with environmental laws. When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it is a first time or repeat violation and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. It also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.
For a comprehensive list of enforcement actions by the MPCA, go to the agency Web site at www.pca.state.mn.us/newscenter/enforcement.html.
6 May 2008