Processing Magazine

Bunge reaches pollution settlement

October 30, 2006

The Associated Press reports that oilseed processor Bunge North America Inc. and three of its subsidiaries agreed last Thursday to pay $13.9 million in a pollution settlement with the federal government, the Justice Department announced. As part of the deal, the St. Louis-based unit of Bunge Ltd. will clean up emissions at 11 soybean-processing plants and one corn plant in eight states, eventually cutting more than 2,200 tons of harmful pollution emissions a year. The settlement, outlined in a consent decree filed by the Justice Department in federal court in Urbana, Ill., follows others with fellow oilseed processors Cargill Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Co. The decree will be subject to a 30-day public comment period and subsequent judicial approval. According to the government, Bunge or a subsidiary violated the federal Clean Air Act at some or all of the dozen plants with "major" modifications of those sites without getting permits or adhering to pollution controls, the Justice Department said. In settling the matter, Bunge will spend an estimated $12 million on emission-curbing projects and pay a $625,000 cash penalty, which will be divided among the U.S. government and the eight states. The company will spend more than $1.25 million on community-based environmental projects in the affected states, including removing mercury, lead or asbestos from Louisiana schools and retrofitting diesel school buses and other vehicles in Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa and Alabama. Bunge also will provide environmental education in Kansas and residential lead abatement in Illinois. The settlement covers soybean-processing plants in the Illinois communities of Cairo and Danville; Delphos and Marion in Ohio; the Indiana cities of Decatur and Morristown; Decatur, Ala.; Marks, Miss.; Destrehan, La.; Emporia, Kan.; and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Also affected is a corn plant in Danville, Ill.