AG Van Hollen: Dresser, Inc. agrees to pay penalties for air pollution control violations

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Bill Cosh 608/266-1221

WAUKESHA – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today announced that his office has resolved a civil case it has brought against Dresser, Inc., for its alleged air pollution violations at a manufacturing facility in Waukesha, Wisconsin where Dresser manufactures engines used in gas compression, power generation, and mechanical drive applications. Although Dresser’s principal corporate offices are in Texas, this facility is the headquarters of Dresser’s “Waukesha Engine” business segment. Like all industries in this state, Dresser’s emission of air pollutants into the air is regulated under Wisconsin’s air pollution control laws.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asked the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute Dresser for emitting into the air excessive amounts of organic hazardous air pollutants (HAP) from three spray paint booths at the plant. Dresser has long operated under the terms of a DNR-issued air pollution control operation permit which limited such HAP emissions to a rate of 0.31 kilograms (or 2.6 pounds) of HAP per liter of coating solids used. The complaint filed in the case alleges that for sixteen consecutive months, from January 2007 through April 2008, Dresser exceeded that limit because of Dresser’s use of a particular spray gun cleaning solvent in its paint booths. To its credit, Van Hollen noted, beginning in May 2008, Dresser reduced its HAP emissions to legal levels by switching to the use of other spray gun cleaning materials.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement which now has been approved by Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Donald J. Hassin, Jr., Dresser has agreed to pay penalties totaling $85,000. “The excessive emission of air pollution can threaten the quality of the air we breathe and public health,” Van Hollen said. “The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources to ensure that such laws are followed.”

Assistant Attorney General Thomas L. Dosch represented the state.