Friday, December 12, 2014

NYS DEC Fines Buckeye Albany Terminal $181,000 for Air Violation

Requires $145,000 Environmental Benefit Project

Under a Consent Order, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) imposed a $181,000 penalty on Buckeye Albany Terminal, LLC for air permit violations, relating to the transfer of ethanol at its Port of Albany facility, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The violations did not result in any material air quality impacts. The order requires Buckeye to institute operational changes to ensure full compliance with state air regulations. Part of the penalty, $145,000, will be put toward an Environmental Benefit Project (EBP).  DEC will work with the community to identify the EBP, officials said Friday.

“DEC continues to vigorously enforce New York’s strict environmental rules and regulations to limit air emissions and protect public health and the environment,” Commissioner Martens said.  “This enforcement action addresses Buckeye’s failure to comply with its air permit, and will ensure that the company’s operations at the Port of Albany fully meet air pollution control requirements.”

Buckeye owns and operates an ethanol truck loading rack on property leased from the Albany Port District Commission at the Port of Albany. The truck loading rack transfers ethanol from storage tanks to trucks for distribution. In early May, DEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency staff conducted an inspection of the facility and discovered that an air pollution control device, called a vapor combustion unit, at the truck loading rack was not operating properly. The unit controls hydrocarbon emissions by heating vapors to high temperatures, which breaks them down into carbon dioxide and water.

Inspectors found that Buckeye had failed to supplement the vapor combustion unit with natural gas, which is necessary to ensure the breakdown of hydrocarbons. Although facility-wide emissions limits were met, DEC initiated enforcement action to ensure the company complies with all provisions of its Title V Air permit.

Under the Consent Order, Buckeye has implemented operational changes to its vapor combustion system, including installing a temperature control device that will shut down the system unless a minimum temperature is achieved, which will ensure efficient combustion of hydrocarbons to control emissions.

Over the next several months, DEC will require that Buckeye solicit input from local stakeholders on potential Environmental Benefit Projects and submit a proposed project to DEC for review and approval.

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