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First Chemical paying penalty

PASCAGOULA — Two manufacturing companies, in separate settlements, have agreed to pay civil penalties and take corrective measures to settle Clean Air Act violations resulting from explosions at two plants in 2002 and 2003 in Louisville, Ky., and Pascagoula, according to the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

D.D. Williamson and Co. and First Chemical Corp. have agreed in separate settlements to pay a combined total of $1.331 million in civil penalties and to implement corrective measures to settle Clean Air Act claims resulting from a 2003 explosion at D.D. Williamson’s Kentucky plant and a 2002 explosion at First Chemical’s Mississippi plant.

The complaints filed today against both companies allege that they failed to adhere to the Clean Air Act’s general duty of care provision.

The complaint filed against First Chemical, which makes extremely hazardous mononitrotoluene (MNT), asserts the company similarly failed to meet the general duty requirement, leading to the 2002 explosion that resulted in the release of over 1,200 pounds of MNT into the air.

First Chemical, under the consent decree lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, has agreed to pay the United States $731,000 in civil penalties, to complete an ongoing comprehensive hazard analysis of its MNT process and to implement all recommendations resulting from the analysis.

The consent decrees lodged are each subject to a 30-day public comment period and to the approval of the U.S. District Court where each is filed.

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