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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ohio EPA: German Chem-Maker Polluted Cincy Air

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- A German multi-national, Cognis Corp., that makes chemicals used for cosmetics has agreed to pay a $310,000 penalty for air-pollution violations at a Cincinnati plant from 2001 to 2006, Ohio EPA officials said today. The company has described itself in promotional material on the Web as setting "economic, ecological and social standards for others to follow."

The violations include failing to conduct timely stack checks for emissions and failing to limit particulate emissions. EPA called the case a "major settlement" and said $290,000 of the penalty will go to the state. Another $62,000 will be earmarked for the Clean Diesel School Bus Program fund, which aids school districts in converting bus fleets to cut down on smoggy exhaust. Officials said the company also will spend $20,000 on a pollution prevention study at its Cincinnati plant. Hamilton County's Department of Environmental Services also monitors the plant and aided the EPA.

The full text of the agreement is HERE.

Cognis has about 8,000 employees worldwide and in company materials portrays itself as a corporation that practices a socially responsible "green" philosophy. CEO Antonio Trius is quoted saying: "As a global player, we are very much aware of our social responsibility and the respect that we owe to both our employees and our neighbors. People, environment, company, products -- the sustainability philosophy of Cognis extends across all these four dimensions."

The German company's latest corporate responsibility report is HERE. Press releases and recent financial results are available at this site.

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