Last week, the State of Colorado put CEMEX on notice of a multitude of clean air violations and even issued a press release over the action. It's a sign that the state may be waking up to the fact the Lyons cement plant poses a serious risk to clean air and public health in north Boulder County. Late last year, the state gave CEMEX the green light to keep violating clean air laws, a move that Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action has challenged. The latest notice issued to CEMEX is a refreshing change in direction from the state.
But these recent violations are merely the latest in a long history of violations. Since 2000, CEMEX has been cited by the State of Colorado six times for violating clean air laws. Last year, both Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency put CEMEX on notice of the most serious clean air violations--failing to install the best air pollution controls.
And as if CEMEX's track record wasn't bad enough, yesterday the company reported that a coal silo at its Lyons cement plant "spontaneously" caught fire. The fire, which smoldered for hours on end, spewed coal smoke into the air totally unchecked. We seriously doubt whether the fire was "spontaneous," and it's telling that of this morning, CEMEX had yet to file a required report with the State of Colorado verifying the cause of the fire. The picture below, taken by CEMEX neighbor Ken Dobbs, shows the coal fire.