Cox Wins Major Air Quality Settlement for Michigan Taxpayers

LANSING, MI--Attorney General Mike Cox today announced a major air quality lawsuit settlement with national cement manufacturer Lafarge that will send nearly $500,000 directly into Michigan's General Fund while requiring the company to install state-of-the-art pollution control equipment as required by state and federal air quality laws.

''Whether it is preserving the Great Lakes from invasive species like Asian carp or improving our air quality, our efforts to protect Michigan's environment benefit both our citizens and economy,'' said Cox. ''Protecting Michigan's quality of life is a key to turning our state around.''

Lafarge North America, Inc., Lafarge Midwest, Inc. and Lafarge Building Materials, Inc. own and operate 13 cement manufacturing facilities across the country, the largest in Alpena. Over the last three decades the company modified its facilities, changing the fuels it burns during the manufacturing process but failing to install legally required pollution control technology or obtain permits with new emission limits. The changes resulted in a significant increase in the emission of smog-forming air pollutants.

In addition to paying civil fines, Lafarge has agreed to retrofit its facilities with modern pollution control equipment or replace equipment to limit air pollution.

Attorney General Cox's office was instrumental in winning the national settlement, which includes payments of fines totaling over $5 million. Michigan's $490,000 settlement represents one of the two largest shares of any state in the nation. Other states involved in the suit included Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington. The federal government is also a plaintiff in the case.

Published: Fri, Jan 29, 2010