DES MOINES, Iowa — $20,000. That's how much Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) will have to pay after the Iowa Department of Natural Resources found that the company was violating air quality standards with its Des Moines soybean plant.
The penalty is composed of two separate $10,000 fines. One is for exceeding the DNR's limits on volatile organic compounds in the air, and the other is for high levels of particulate matter.
According to an administrative consent order, ADM's emission limits have been exceeded multiple times since November 2018, most recently in April of this year. The order also says that ADM hasn't implemented all necessary measures to mitigate those emissions.
The Environmental Protection Agency says that excess exposure to air pollution such as particulate matter can lead to visible haze in the air, as well as health issues included aggravated asthma and nonfatal heart attacks.
In the signed consent order, ADM does not confirm or deny any of the violations alleged by the DNR. That agreement was made to avoid further litigation between the two parties.
In a statement to Local 5, an ADM spokesperson Dane Lisser said "ADM is committed to operating all of our facilities in a responsible manner and taking appropriate measures to ensure our operations meet environmental permits and regulations. We take this commitment very seriously and work closely with authorities to promptly investigate and address concerns. In this case, we amicably resolved Iowa DNR concerns and will continue to meet the commitments we made in our recent agreements with the agency."
So where does the company go from here? According to the consent order, ADM will have to pay that $20,000 fine and make improvements to their construction projects in order to reduce air pollution by the end of 2024.