The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has slapped the Cascades Tissue Group paper mill in St. Helens with a civil penalty of $19,423.
The penalty was assessed against the Cascades facility at 1300 Kaster Road in St. Helens.
"The violations include failing to timely conduct emission factor verification stack testing and submitting late and inaccurate annual and semi-annual reports and compliance certifications," the DEQ told Cascades Tissue Group in a letter.
The letter continues: "DEQ issued this penalty because failing to timely conduct stack testing and late and inaccurate reports are serious violations. The stack tests are required to verify the emission factors in your permit, on which the permitting assumptions and permitted levels of emissions for your mill are based. Without timely testing, DEQ is delayed in ensuring the permit is accurate and emissions from the mill are not at levels that could harm the public's health or the environment."
When contacted by the Spotlight, Hugo D'Amours, a spokesperson for Cascades Tissue Group, said, "What I can tell you is that this violation is related to a lack of understanding on our part on reporting that was required."
Noting that the violation was for the years 2018 and 2019, D'Amours, who is vice president of communication and public affairs, continued, "We have corrected that situation since. What I can tell you is that it's purely linked to administrative requirements because we didn't comply in time, which we have recognized, by the way, and corrected since then."
D'Amours said the mill "has never been in violation with releasing emissions above standards."
He added, "It's purely about administrative reporting."
The DEQ told Cascades in the letter that it "does appreciate" the company's efforts to address the violations, such as by conducting the stack tests on the boilers at the mill and submitting correct and up-to-date reports.
"DEQ considered these efforts when determining the amount of civil penalty," the letter added.
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