PPG Industries (NYSE: PPG) has reached an agreement with the State of Maryland to address its issues with mercury air emissions from PPG’s chlor-alkali manufacturing plant in Natrium, W.Va.
“The mercury cell process at PPG’s Natrium plant is in compliance with the most stringent air emission standards mandated by the federal Clean Air Act, and the plant’s reported mercury air emissions for 2008 were 86 percent lower than the emissions reported in 2004,” said Michael H. McGarry, PPG senior vice president, commodity chemicals. “We vehemently disagree with Maryland’s attorney general that emissions from our Natrium plant are impacting residents of his state. However, despite having disproven the attorney general’s allegations with scientific evidence, we are entering into this agreement solely to avoid the costs of litigation.”
As part of the agreement, PPG has committed to certain annual limits for mercury emissions by 2011 and 2013. Further, PPG has committed to continuing to evaluate the feasibility of further reducing emissions after 2013 if new technology or equipment is developed that can be applied to PPG’s mercury cell chlorine production process.
PPG officials also refuted two significant inaccuracies in the Maryland attorney general’s news release, which this morning announced the agreement.
“First, mercury emissions from PPG’s Natrium facility are NOT the cause of Maryland’s mercury problem,” McGarry said. “In fact, we provided the State of Maryland with data published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that proves that.
“Second, PPG did NOT commit to ‘decommission the mercury-based technology,’” McGarry added. “Although PPG continues to consider a number of alternatives, including the feasibility of replacing the mercury cell process at the Natrium plant, there is currently no definitive plan for the decommissioning of the process. PPG continues to believe the mercury cell process can be operated in a manner protective of human health and the environment.”
PPG’s Natrium plant is in compliance with extremely strict emission standards for mercury established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Products manufactured at the plant are used in many applications that improve the quality of life, including purifying swimming pools and drinking water. The plant employs about 540 people and has been in operation since 1943.
PPG recognizes its responsibility to provide safe, healthful workplaces and to preserve and protect the global environment in which the company operates. To this end, the company runs its businesses using sound environment, health, safety and product stewardship practices, and it communicates with the public and supports the communities in which it operates.
Pittsburgh-based PPG (ppg.com) is a global supplier of paints, coatings, optical products, specialty materials, chemicals, glass and fiber glass. The company has more than 140 manufacturing facilities and equity affiliates and operates in more than 60 countries. Sales in 2008 were $15.8 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG).
Vince Morales, PPG Investor Relations