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April 20, 2011

Terra Industries to Pay Penalty, Install Pollution Controls at Iowa Acid Plants

(DES MOINES, Iowa)  Terra Industries, Inc., of Sioux City, has agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty to the State of Iowa and has agreed to install and implement new controls and technologies that are expected to reduce harmful nitrogen oxide emissions at its two Sergeant Bluff nitric acid manufacturing plants, as part of a federal Clean Air Act settlement with the Iowa Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and two other states.

According to the complaint, Terra allegedly constructed, modified and operated its facilities without obtaining pre-construction and operating permits, and without installing best available control technology for controlling air pollution.  Terra also allegedly violated the Clean Air Act by failing to comply with applicable air emission limits and ongoing requirements for emissions monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting at some of its facilities.

Terra has agreed to pay $625,000 in civil penalties, including $100,000 to the State of Iowa, to settle alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act at nine of its facilities in Iowa, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.  As part of the agreement Terra must also install and operate controls and technologies at its facilities, which is expected to reduce harmful nitrogen oxide emissions by at least 1,200 tons per year.  The estimated cost to install and implement the equipment is $17 million.

“The Clean Air Act protects all of us from the harmful effects of air pollution,” said Attorney General Tom Miller.  “When any company violates the Act, that threatens the public and we hold violators accountable.  This not only holds Terra accountable, but it ensures future compliance and cleaner, healthier air.”  Miller added that this agreement is a significant cooperative effort between his office, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, and two other states.

Terra is a major producer of nitrogen fertilizers, including anhydrous ammonia, urea, ammonia nitrate, and urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN).  The company also produces nitric acid, a key intermediate in the manufacture of ammonium nitrate and UAN.  The production of nitric acid results in the emission of nitrogen oxides, which can cause lung damage, worsen respiratory diseases, contribute to acid rain, and contributes to the formation of smog.

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day comment period and final court approval.

Terra’s nine facilities covered by the settlement include nitric acid plants at Sergeant Bluff, Yazoo City, Mississippi, Verdigris, Oklahoma, and Woodward, Oklahoma.

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