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Ash Grove will close two Midlothian cement kilns, build one new kiln

Ash Grove Cement Corp. will shut down two of its older cement kilns in Midlothian while building one new-technology kiln at the site as part of a national settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Overland Park, Kans.-based company and other cement producers faced a September 2013 deadline to meet new EPA emission standards.

EPA announced today that Ash Grove also agreed to pay a $2.5 million penalty and invest about $30 million in polution control technology at its nine Portland cement plants around the country. The settlement resolves alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, EPA and the Justice Department said. Ash Grove also will spend $750,000 "to mitigate the effects of past excess emissions from several of its facilities," including the Midlothian plants, EPA said today.

"The agreement with EPA will allow Ash Grove to move forward and provide an environmentally sustainable product that is the foundation of our economy," CEO Charles Sunderland said in a prepared release. The company said the agreement takes effect after public comment and court approval, likely  in July, the  individual plant compliance will vary.

The kilns have been the subject of long-running battles. More than a year ago, Downwinders at Risk, a group that has worked for two decades to reduce emissions from the kilns, predicted the move would happen by 2014. At the time Ash Grove said no decision had been made.

-- Jim Fuquay


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