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Attorney General Abbott charges manufacturer with violating environmental laws

Conner Steel Products of San Angelo cited for waste management, air emissions violations

From the Office of Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas

May 31, 2007

Government - Attorney General Greg Abbott pictureAUSTIN–Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott charged Conner Steel Products with violating state environmental protection laws. According to the state's enforcement action, the San Angelo-based steel and fiberglass tank manufacturer failed to comply with air quality and solid waste management regulations.

"Texas will vigorously enforce environmental laws that protect the health and safety of its citizens," said Attorney General Abbott. "Despite inspections and compliance agreements with state regulators, this manufacturer failed to comply with the law. The Office of Attorney General is committed to strictly enforcing environmental protections that preserve the quality of air, water and natural resources for future generations."

A temporary injunction hearing in the case has been set for 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 12, in Travis County District Court.

In both 2004 and 2005, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and Conner entered into agreed orders requiring the manufacturer to comply with environmental regulations for solid waste management, storm water runoff and air emissions.

Despite the orders, recent follow-up inspections by TCEQ investigators revealed additional waste management and air emission violations, including storing waste in open 55-gallon containers that were accessible to children; conducting sandblasting operations without the required TCEQ registration or site approval; burning waste in outdoor barrels; improperly disposing of welding residue; and releasing harmful styrene emissions to the air from a fiberglass fabrication unit. According to the TCEQ inspection report, fiberglass fabrication manufacturing emissions caused the air in a nearby neighborhood to exceed the regulatory limitations for styrene, a hazardous chemical.

Conner also unlawfully stored paint waste, liquid acetone and styrene resin in containers bound for a municipal landfill that is not permitted to accept those chemicals. The manufacturer also improperly disposed of welding residue, among many other violations.

The state seeks up to $25,000 per violation per day, as well as injunctions halting all unauthorized waste discharges and air emissions, and requiring Conner to bring the facility into full compliance with the law. The enforcement case also demands that Conner Steel provide a full accounting of all wastes via a classification system, as required by law.

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