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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today announced that his office has resolved a civil case it has brought against FiberPro, Inc., a La Crosse, Wisconsin company which manufactures structural fiberglass components. FiberPro uses a manufacturing process known as pultrusion, which involves pulling resin-impregnated fiberglass materials through heated forming devices. Its products include door and window components, tool handles, docks and industrial pallets. Like all industries, FiberPro's emission of air pollutants into the air is regulated under Wisconsin's air pollution control laws.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asked the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute FiberPro for emitting into the air excessive amounts of a hazardous air pollutant known as styrene, a chemical which can cause adverse effects to the central nervous system of those who breathe high levels of it. FiberPro has long operated under the terms of a DNR-issued air pollution control operation permit which limited its styrene emissions to a 12-month average rate of 9.9 tons per month. The complaint filed in the case alleges that for eleven months, from September 2007 through July 2008, FiberPro emitted styrene in excess of that limit. As required by its air pollution control permit, FiberPro self-reported these violations to the DNR after it performed monthly measurements of its emissions. To its credit, Van Hollen noted, FiberPro has taken steps to significantly reduce its emission of styrene and to come back into compliance with its air pollution control permit, including the installation of enclosures on its pultrusion machines to capture styrene emissions.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement which now has been approved by La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Elliott Levine, FiberPro has agreed to pay penalties totaling $35,000. "The excessive emission of air pollution can threaten the quality of the air we breathe and public health," Van Hollen said. "The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources to ensure that such laws are followed."
Assistant Attorney General Thomas L. Dosch represented the state.