DOJ Files Civil Action Against MagCorp for PCB Violations

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Leading U.S. polluter, US Magnesium Corporation of Salt Lake City, has been on the EPA's list as the largest toxic air polluter in the country. Though it emissions have improved, they are still significant. Local inventor said he demonstrated the successful burning of some of their emissions for energy and clean-up, but they declined to integrate the technique.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil action against US Magnesium Corporation (MagCorp) of Salt Lake City Thursday for illegal manufacture, disposal and lack of cleaning PCB waste.

MagCorp is the only producer of primary magnesium in the United States, drawing from the Great Salt Lake. They also manufacture liquid chlorine.

This is not the first time MagCorp has been charged. For nearly 13 years, they topped the EPA's list as the largest toxic air polluter in the country. In 1998, MagCorp emitted 57.7 million pounds of chlorine gas into the atmosphere.  By 2003, they had reduced that down to 2.9 million pounds. The waste-water ditches around USMC-SLC are contaminated with dioxin at levels as high as 170 parts per billion.  EPA action levels for clean-up begin at one part per billion. (ref)

According to today's filing, PCBs are toxic chemicals that are extremely stable and persistent in the environment. They have been proven to cause liver damage, adverse skin effects, and changes in other biological functions, and are suspected of causing cancer in humans. PCBs bioaccumulate in humans and other organisms.

When MagCorp propositioned the local government about locating their facilities in Utah in 1969, a deal was struck in which MagCorp was promised certain tax advantages and a set power rate of 2 cents per kilowatt hour of energy, in exchange for so many jobs brought into the economy. The 30-year electricity contract expired in 1999, and, after several years of court disputes, was renewed at 2.514 cents per kW-h in Nov. 2004. That amount is slightly lower than "cost of service" according to Public Service Commission docket number 03-035-19. (ref) A good rate for municipalities purchasing power at wholesale rates is 4 cents per kW-h.

Though MagCorp filed for bankruptcy on August 2, 2001, the principals do not seem to be hurting for cash. According to KSL radio in Salt Lake City, one of the members of the board of directors of the Renco Group, Inc, which owns MagCorp, Ira Rennart, recently bought an entire city block outside of New York City (Hampton) and built a multi a mansion worth tens of millions of dollars.

Late in 1994, Salt Lake City inventor, Paul Pantone took a sample of the emissions from MagCorp and demonstrated that he could burn it in his GEET engine. He noted significant reduction in toxic emissions. When he approached two MagCorp engineers about integrating this solution, they said to him, "You don't seem to understand. We do not have an emissions problem." When Pantone pointed out the extent of paint corrosion on the cars in their parking lot, again, they denied that the emissions from their plant were to blame. Pantone has a phone conference appointment tomorrow morning with Tom Tripp, a manager at MagCorp, to present this proposal once again.

Pantone commented that when he first moved to Salt Lake City, he noticed that the bridges appeared as though they had been acid washed. When he learned of MagCorp and investigated their facility, he realized why this is the case, considering the amount of acid steam emitted from the plant. He thinks he can make a difference. Will MagCorp listen?

Perhaps Mr. Rennart can spare some of his personal wealth for some research and development into Pantone's claim.

The above story by Sterling D. Allan, Executive Directory of PES Network Inc, is published at

Source material and related sites are linked there.

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