By John Miller
The Associated Press
BOISE — 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, including Oregon, 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 thousands of tons of harmful pollutants at plants in Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Texas.
The Oregon plant is at Durkee, in Baker County.
Droughts don't end in one day.
But Wednesday is giving it quite a try.
As of 2 p.m., 1.4 inches of rain had fallen at the Baker City Airport, and rain was still coming down heavily.
It's the wettest day here in more than 22 years — since 1.41 inches fell on May 17, 1991.
This is the first day of measurable rain at the airport in June, which on average is the second-wettest month.
Before the rain started, at about 5 a.m. today, the rainfall total for 2013 was 37 percent below average.
By 2 p.m. the deluge had trimmed the yearly total to 12 percent below average.
On June 5 the Baker County Board of Commissioners declared a drought emergency.