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Dakota Dunes, S.D. -- IBP Inc. will spend more than $14
million in penalties and improvements to settle a lawsuit filed over
alleged environmental violations at its Dakota City, Neb., plant.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed the lawsuit in
January 2000 against IBP, accusing the meatpacking giant of polluting
the air and water surrounding its 200-acre Dakota City plant.
As part of the settlement, IBP agreed to spend $10 million to
construct additional wastewater treatment systems to efficiently
reduce its discharges of ammonia into the Missouri River.
The company also has agreed to continue to expand operational
improvements ordered last year that will significantly reduce
hydrogen sulfur air emissions, Justice Department officials said.
The improvements are scheduled to be completed in the summer of
IBP also will pay penalties of $2.25 million to the EPA and $1.85
million to the state of Nebraska.
In return, the EPA dropped its lawsuit against the company and its
claims of environmental violations by the company.
``We are pleased to partner with Nebraska and other states to
enforce the laws that protect our environment and public health,''
said EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman. ``This partnership will
further ensure the environment is not put at risk from excessive air
and water pollution.''
The money earmarked for Nebraska will go directly to Dakota County
and will be used by the county's school system.
``With this agreement and the improvements that have already been
made at the plant, we believe environmental concerns should result in
significant improvements,'' said Mike Linder, director of Nebraska
Department of Environmental Quality. ``We will continue working with
IBP to ensure the environment is protected in the future.''
The settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing, IBP said.
``Our company has been and will continue to be committed to
protecting the environment and complying with all environmental laws
and requirements,'' William Tolle, IBP assistant vice president for
environmental affairs said.
``While we still don't agree with the nature and extent of the
claims made in the federal government's lawsuit, we're glad that we
were able to come to an agreement that allows us to put this matter
behind us,'' Tolle said.
IBP said the settlement also resolves water quality issues at
former IBP facilities in Gibbon and at Palestine, Texas, where it
said improvements were completed before the settlement was reached.
The Dakota City plant employs about 4,000 of IBP's 10,000
employees in the state. IBP is the world's largest producer of fresh
beef, pork and related products.
IBP, based in Dakota Dunes, S.D., is the nation's largest beef
processor. Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods Inc., the poultry
giant, purchased the company this year.
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