Environment & Science

EPA fines Inland cement plant $1.4 million for air pollution

A cement plant in Mojave will pay $1.4 million in penalties to settle air pollution claims with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

CalPortland’s penalty is one of the largest ever for a single cement maker, agency officials say. But that’s not the end of it — the cement and building materials manufacturer will also spend more than a million dollars to install pollution controls that cost half a million dollars a year to operate.

EPA officials have claimed that the company modified its plant without permission. They say those modifications yielded thousands of tons of air pollutants that contribute to human breathing problems.

The air pollution CalPortland emits includes the chemical compounds nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide. Both contribute to the brew of smog that plagues Kern County, where the plant is located.

The federal agency has designated CalPortland as one of the worst polluters of this kind in the state.