Oklahoma Chemical Company Settles With EPA and DEQ, Agrees to Pay Fines and Reduce Emissions

  • Joe Wertz

LSB Industries has agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, which had accused the Oklahoma City-based chemical company of violating the federal Clean Air Act.

The company produces nitric acid and nitrogen-based fertilizers and is the country’s “largest acid manufacturer,” according to the EPA. The March 18 settlement, known as a consent decree, applies to 10 nitric acid manufacturing plants in four states, including Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas.

LSB Industries is the parent company of the Pryor Chemical Company, which operates a 104-acre complex in Pryor, Okla., that produces nitric acid, anhydrous ammonia, urea and other chemicals. As part of the settlement, the company has agreed to reduce emissions of nitric oxide — an atmospheric pollutant and lung irritant — by 800 tons per year. The company will also pay $725,000 in penalties. Oklahoma will receive $206,250, the settlement shows.

“We are pleased a settlement has been reached,” DEQ spokeswoman Skylar McElhaney told StateImpact. “This will achieve a reduction of [nitric oxide] to Oklahoma’s airshed.”

LSB Industries Settlement – Consent Decree (Text)
From the EPA:

The complaint, filed concurrently with the settlement, alleges that the Cherokee, El Dorado and Pryor subsidiaries constructed or made modifications to their plants that resulted in increased emissions of NOx without first obtaining pre-construction permits and installing pollution controls. The complaint does not allege any violations regarding the Texas facility.

UPDATED on 03/19/2014 with comment from Oklahoma’s Department of Environmental Quality.