February 2, 2007 — Pacific Steel Casting Co., Berkeley, CA, has reached an agreement with an environmental group to invest in new pollution-control systems and establish cooperative methods to protect against new pollution risks. The agreement between PSC and Communities for a Better Environment must be confirmed by a federal court, which is hearing a lawsuit filed by CBE against the steel foundry in 2006. PSC, which produces steel castings for trucks and buses, as well as water valves at three plants in Berkeley, still faces two other similar lawsuits.
CBE, a non-profit organization, alleges the foundry causes public health problems,and filed federal a Clean Air Act suit against the firm last year.
Joe Emmerichs, general manager and v.p.-Operations for PSC, stated: “Pacific Steel welcomes the cooperative spirit demonstrated by this agreement. We look forward to working closely with CBE toward our shared goals of reducing emissions for the benefit of our neighbors and workers.”
According to a PSC release, there are three main points to the agreement:
— Pacific Steel Casting must implement a plan for selecting and inspecting the scrap metal melts. "Through notification of scrap suppliers and regular inspections, the goal is to reduce organic contaminants in the scrap supply that may release emissions during the steel making process," the foundry states.
— PSC must create a reserve fund of $350,000 for selected projects that achieve reductions in emissions levels at the facility. These projects must reduce particulate emissions, HAPs (hazardous air pollutants), or VOCs (volatile organic compounds), by at least two tons. These reductions must be in addition to emissions reduction being achieved by PSC's recent installation of carbon-filter adsorption system at its Plant 3.
— The agreement establishes the Joint Consultation Committee comprised of CBE, PSC, and the local labor union representing PSC workers, to meet quarterly to recommend expenditures from the reserve fund to reduce emissions.
The agreement allows CBE to inspect the scrap operations and emissions control systems at the foundry,
The agreement allows inspections of Pacific Steel by CBE or its consultant of the scrap metal operations or emissions mitigation projects that commence as a result of this agreement.After three years, or once the fund is entirely spent, the agreement between the foundry and the organization will expire.