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USG Cloquet plant fined for air violations

USG Interiors, LLC will pay a $59,500 penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and change its pollution testing procedures at its Cloquet ceiling tile plant after multiple air-quality permit violations at the facility.

The PCA said Wednesday that USG “self-reported” that it violated its air-quality permits for emissions exceedances or missed equipment testing 32 times between July 2014 and October 2016.

In addition to the penalty, USG completed three compliance actions, including submitting a new compliance and testing plan that the MPCA approved for future equipment performance testing.

USG manufactures acoustical ceiling tiles at its plant along the St. Louis River in Cloquet. The tile-making process involves combining a variety of raw materials into a slurry that is dried, cut and coated. The process requires an air-quality permit that limits nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter. The PCA said impacts from these air pollutants on humans can include respiratory and cardiovascular illness. Nitrous oxide is the main contributor to ground level ozone and can cause visibility issues.