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EPA levies $2.5M penalty against US cement maker

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- The Environmental Protection Agency levied a $2.5 million
penalty against a big cement maker and required the company to invest $30 million
 in pollution controls at plants in nine states alleged to have violated the
federal Clean Air Act.
   Ash Grove Cement Co.'s penalty was announced Wednesday by the EPA and U.S.
Department of Justice, part of a deal in which the Kansas-based company also will
spend $750,000 to mitigate effects of past excess emissions.
   The EPA said this will reduce more than 17,000 tons of harmful pollutants at
plants in Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Washington and
Texas.
   An Ash Grove spokeswoman, Jacqueline Clark, didn't return a call seeking comment.
   The EPA says the pact will reduce pollution that can hurt human health and
cause acid rain.

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