Amitech USA not affected by fine

Amitech USA LLC appeared before the U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, LA, on July 18 to plead guilty to one count of failure to file a report of unpermitted air emissions. A member of the Saudi Arabian Amiantit Group, it manufactures large diameter (12-108".) pipe in a fully automated facility built in 2002-03 in Zachary, LA, just north of Baton Rouge on Highway 61. It agreed to pay a $1.07 million fine and $100,000 in community restitution...

ZACHARY, LA, July 24, 2006 -- Amitech USA LLC appeared before the U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, LA, on July 18 to plead guilty to one count of failure to file a report of unpermitted air emissions. A member of the Saudi Arabian Amiantit Group, it manufactures large diameter (12-108".) pipe in a fully automated facility built in 2002-03 in Zachary, LA, just north of Baton Rouge on Highway 61. This plant has supplied jobs from Hawaii to Baltimore and from Alberta, Canada, to Chihuahua, Mexico. Amitech employs 140 residents of Zachary, Baton Rouge and the surrounding area and support local business.

In spring 2003, during the initial start-up phase of the Zachary facility, former employees made a mistake in the interpretation of the air permit that had been issued by the La. Dept. of Environmental Quality (LDEQ). The device that Amitech had purchased to reduce the emissions of styrene was not working properly and Amitech's former employees interpreted the permit to allow the facility to operate without the device for test runs for pilot projects. This mistake resulted in the release of styrene that should have been, but was not reported to LDEQ. LDEQ met with Amitech and advised them of the violation. Amitech immediately took steps to resolve these issues, as we strive to be a partner with the LDEQ in protecting our environment.

In the fall of 2004, Amitech learned of an investigation into this matter by a federal grand jury. Amitech cooperated with the government in its investigation that involved the possible violation of strict federal environmental laws. Once the facts became known, the company determined that a violation of the reporting requirements had in fact occurred and that it was in the best interest of the company to agree to a resolution of the investigation through a plea agreement. In this plea agreement, Amitech has agreed to pay a fine of $1.07 million and community restitution of $100,000.

This incident occurred over three years ago, in the initial start-up of the plant. Amitech stated that it regrets that it did not follow proper procedures for reporting emissions under the LDEQ air permit. None of the employees involved in the conduct are still with the company. Its committed to complying with all state and federal laws and regulations, and since this incident, tight controls have been instituted on the operation of the multiple devices that treat our emissions to ensure complete compliance. The company's continued compliance with all environmental regulations have been confirmed by multiple random visits of the LDEQ inspectors. It's Amitech's strong desire to produce environmentally friendly products using environmentally friendly technology, the company added. Its website is www.amitechusa.com

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