GPC transitioning from coal to natural gas to improve Muscatine air quality
MUSCATINE, IOWA – Earlier today Judge Mark D. Cleve signed a Consent Decree that was the result of settlement discussions between the Iowa Attorney General and Grain Processing Corporation. The settlement announced today resolves all pending State allegations against Grain Processing Corporation (GPC) of Muscatine Iowa.
This comprehensive agreement between the Attorney General and GPC settles the previous “Notices of Violation”, and other charges, and provides for the renewal and update of existing permits issued to GPC over the past 30 years. The agreement reflects the efforts by both GPC and the DNR to identify a significant list of specific projects and actions that will resolve the issues and concerns previously identified by the DNR.
In the coming months, GPC will take additional steps to transition from using coal to using natural gas as the fuel source. For example, GPC will take the extraordinary step of converting all of its boilers from coal-fired to natural gas-fired no later than July 15, 2015. Converting the boilers to natural gas will significantly reduce and all but eliminate sulfur dioxide, lead, and other emissions. Under the terms of the agreement, the company will undertake additional capital projects and monitor activities to reduce its impact on the environment and improve air quality.
These projects will complement, and be in addition to, the $100 million environmental sustainability efforts already underway at GPC. The company is currently building a $75 million, state-of-the-art dryer at the plant site on the south side of Muscatine that is scheduled to be operational in early 2015. GPC is also spending tens of millions of dollars to install and upgrade additional environmental control systems throughout the plant.
In less than eighteen months, these efforts will reduce total emissions to levels well below the newest and more stringent air quality standards now set by the EPA. When the dryer house is fully operational, smoke, odor, and haze will be nearly eliminated.
Today’s announcement provides GPC with the ability to focus on the future. The projects already completed and the many improvements that will be implemented have been approved and supported by the DNR. These actions will also help Muscatine County attain PM 2.5 particulate matter and sulfur dioxide compliance levels well in advance of the state’s five-year implementation plan.
“The amended petition from the AG’s office provided an opportunity for GPC and the DNR to collaboratively develop specific plans to address the full scope of concerns. GPC has and will continue to make a huge commitment of resources to deliver on the promise of air quality improvement.” said Gage Kent, CEO and Chairman of Kent Corporation.
GPC is an essential part of the local and regional economy, purchasing more than $400 million of corn annually from farmers in our area. GPC remains dedicated to a long future of sharing economic, environmental, and community success for Muscatine and its citizens. (For more information contact: Janet Sichterman, 563-264-4390)