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USG fined for 2022-23 violations

USG Interiors was fined $18,949 for air quality violations at its Cloquet facility two years ago by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

According to an MPCA enforcement investigation, USG exceeded nitrogen oxide emissions by 10 percent above permit limits for nearly 50 days during the summer of 2022. The violations were confirmed following a failed stack test of equipment that dries materials to be formed into ceiling tiles at the company’s facility in Cloquet, Minn.

An MPCA staff inspection in May 2023 also confirmed other violations including:

• Failing to consistently apply chloride to unpaved road surfaces at the facility between May and September to suppress dust and maintain control of ambient particulate matter.

• Failing to submit 12 different required notifications of new equipment construction and initial startups on time.

In addition to paying the $18,949 civil penalty, USG Interiors has completed a series of corrective actions including:

• Retesting the drying equipment to confirm emissions compliance.

• Submitting plans to ensure timely application of chloride and to ensure all future notifications are on time.

MPCA rules and regulations are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When calculating penalties, the MPCA considers how seriously the violations affected or could have affected the environment, and whether they were first-time or repeat violations. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.