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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Simplot to Spend $42M|for Clean Air Violations

(CN) - Agriculture giant J.R. Simplot agreed to spend roughly $42 million to resolve Clean Air Act violations at plants in California, Idaho and Wyoming, the Justice Department said Thursday.

The Environmental Protection Agency found that modifications made at five of Simplot's sulfuric acid plants resulted in air pollution violations. The company agreed to spend $42 million on pollution controls that will significantly reduce sulfur dioxide emissions at the plants.

Additionally, Simplot agreed to spend $200,000 to fund a community wood stove replacement program in the area around its Lathrop, California, plant. That plant lies in the pollution-prone San Joaquin Valley.

Simplot's Pocatello, Idaho, plant will receive $15 million in pollution control upgrades, the Justice Department said.

The EPA and Justice Department said Simplot made modifications at the five sulfuric acid plants without applying for or receiving Clean Air Act permits or using "best available control technology."

Short-term exposures to sulfur dioxide can lead to serious respiratory problems, including constriction of airways in the lungs and increased asthma symptoms. Additionally, sulfur dioxide is a precursor to the formation of fine particulate matter, which causes a wide variety of health and environmental impacts including asthma attacks, reduced lung function and aggravation of existing heart disease.

Founded in 1929 by 14-year-old John Richard Simplot, Simplot made huge profits during World War II selling dehydrated onions and potatoes to the U.S. military.

The company made billions more selling frozen French fries developed by one of its scientists, and also produces fertilizers for agricultural applications.

Ironically, the company's slogan is "Bringing Earth's Resources to Life."

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