The Ash Grove cement company will close two higher-polluting kilns and upgrade another in Midlothian as part of an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency.
The agreement requires the company to invest $30 million in pollution controls at plants in nine states that were alleged to have violated the federal Clean Air Act. The company, based in Overland Park, Kansas, must also pay a $2.5 million fine.
Ash Grove disputes the EPA’s finding that it violated federal pollution laws, but says it agreed to the deal as the cost of continuing the debate escalated.
The EPA says this pact will reduce pollution that can hurt human health and cause acid rain.
The EPA said this will reduce thousands of tons of pollutants harmful to health from plants in Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Texas.
Ash Grove says the two, less efficient kilns will be closed by April of 2014. It claims the modernization will reduce smog forming nitrogen oxide emissions at its Midlothian location by 60 percent and sulfur dioxide emissions by 97 percent. Sulfur dioxide is a component of acid rain.