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Willamette Industries settles pollution claims with $11.2 million fine
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Willamette Industries, a major wood products company, has agreed to pay a record $11.2 million fine to the federal government to settle pollution claims, the Justice Department and EPA announced Thursday.
EPA Administrator Carol Browner called the settlement, which focused on violations of the Clean Air Act, the largest to date involving factory emissions.
Under the plan, Willamette, based in Portland, Oregon, will also be required to spend $74 million to install new pollution-control equipment at its 13 factories in Oregon, Arkansas, Louisiana and South Carolina.
Browner estimated that cleaning up the emissions from the Willamette plants will keep an average of 27,000 tons of pollution out of the air. She said that is the equivalent of taking 287,000 cars off the road.
Browner said the action is the third against companies in the wood products industry.
Attorney General Janet Reno applauded the settlement, which also requires the firm to spend $8 million on environmental projects.
"Dirty air is just plain unhealthy," Reno said. "It's uncomfortable especially for our elderly, our children and others who are most vulnerable among us."
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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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