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EPA reaches settlement with R.J. Torching for alleged Clean Air Act violations at facility in Flint
December 06, 2023
Virtual public meeting set for Jan. 18 to discuss draft settlement
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) supports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement of a settlement with scrap metal recycler R.J. Torching for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.
Under the agreed-upon consent decree, R.J. Torching will install a pollution capture and control system at its Flint facility that is expected to significantly reduce visible emissions of inhalable metallic particulate matter from the facility to protect human health and the environment. The company also will pay $150,000 in civil penalties.
EPA alleges R.J. Torching, a scrap metal recycler that uses high-powered torches to cut large metal objects such as automotive manufacturing machines, violated visible emissions limitations, illegally conducted open burning and failed to properly operate air pollution control devices. EPA also alleges that the company violated a 2015 administrative settlement to use a specified air pollution cleansing device when needed and comply with applicable Michigan visible emission requirements.
R.J. Torching’s torch-cutting operations can generate significant amounts of pollution, which can lead to a variety of health problems. EPA also has worked with EGLE to issue violation notices to address the company’s excess torch-cutting emissions at its facilities in Flint and Battle Creek, Michigan.
In 2019, R.J. Torching installed a movable enclosure to better contain torch-cutting emissions at the Flint facility, located on North Dort Highway. The settlement will require R.J. Torching to use the enclosure to house the company’s torch-cutting operations and construct a new pollution control system to capture the emissions and remove particulate matter from the air through a fabric filter system. It will also require air pollution testing and improved monitoring and compliance with a more stringent air emission standard to mitigate past harm to the environment.
The facility is located in an area with environmental justice concerns, according to data from EPA’s EJSCREEN tool.
Read more about the settlement and find more detailed information about this modification in the Air Quality Enforcement Factsheet.
The settlement is subject to a public comment period and final court approval. EGLE will host a virtual public meeting on the consent decree from 6-7:30 p.m. Jan. 18, 2024, EST. Representatives from the EPA, U.S. Department of Justice and Michigan Attorney General Office will be in attendance. Information on how to submit a public comment and participate in the public meeting is available on the Department of Justice website.
- Join online via computer: pre-register any time or join online at 6 p.m. Jan. 18
- Call in to the meeting: 636-651-3142 and use conference code 374288.
- By email: Pubcomment-ees.enrd@USDOJ.gov
- By mail: Assistant Attorney General, U.S. DOJ-ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611
Information about past air quality inspections and violations can be found on EGLE’s R.J. Torching source information page.
If you have questions about the Consent Decree, contact Dan McGeen, EGLE Inspector, at McgeenD@Michigan.gov or 517-648-7547.