Groups sue Mountain Cement for polluting

Groups sue Mountain Cement for polluting
Published: 05 September 2005

Two conservation groups have taken Mountain Cement plant in Laramie to court, claiming that the plant has violated federal and state clean air regulations more than 15,000 times since 1999.

A civil lawsuit by the Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, along with the Wyoming Sierra Club, against Mountain Cement Company, which is a subsidiary of the Texas-based Eagle Materials Inc., was all but sent to trial on Friday.

Summary judgments for and against the cement plant were denied in a federal court on Friday, setting the stage for a trial at a later date.

However, due to a lack of time, US Federal District Court Judge Clarence Bremmer did not issue an official ruling on Friday. He did imply that he could not rule a summary judgment in favor of either party due to conflicting “factual” evidence, and that the case would be set for trial at a later date.

In his opening argument, Laramie attorney Reed Zars said that his clients — who are members of the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance and the Sierra Club — were seeking a partial summary judgment for an injunction against the Mountain Cement Company, of Laramie, for reportedly violating state and federal Clean Air Act and Environmental Protection Agency standards more than 15,000 times since 1999.

According to Zars, both Mountain Cement’s kiln 2 and clinker cooler have regularly exceeded their opacity limit, which is a measure of how particle-dense the smoke is that the company emits during the cement-making process, for the past five years.