The Texas Industries Inc cement plant was cited 32 times in less than 18 months by the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District.The violations occurred between April 2003 and July and resulted in a $75,000 fine and a promise from TXI to build a new cement construction of a new cement plant. TXI will also pay $111,166.15 annually for five years or until a new plant is built, whichever happens first. Most of the violations were for air quality measures.
"It’s just an old plant," said Eldon Heaston, deputy air pollution control officer for MDAQMD. "The only way they can bring the plant into compliance is to build a new one, which they’ve promised to do." The TXI board of directors last month approved building a new plant. The project is expected to be completed by mid-year 2007, according to TXI spokesman Frank Sheets. Should the plant not be built within the five-year time frame, both sides will have to renegotiate.
Environmental Protection Agency standards were made stricter when the Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards took effect in 2002. This dropped the allowable capacity from 20 per cent to 10 per cent. It was difficult for the TXI plant to meet the old standards, Heaston said, adding that it is unrealistic to expect the plant to meet the new standards.
"We’re here to keep the air clean and help the community, not run people out of business," Heaston said.