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EPA levies $2.5M penalty against US cement maker

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- The Environmental Protection Agency levied a $2.5 million penalty against Ash Grove Cement Co. and required the company to invest $30 million in pollution controls at plants in nine states alleged to have violated the federal Clean Air Act.

Ash Grove Cement's penalty was announced Wednesday by the EPA and Department of Justice in a deal where the Kansas-based company also will spend $750,000 to mitigate effects of past emissions.

The EPA said this will reduce thousands of tons of harmful pollutants from plants in Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Texas.

Ash Grove disputes it violated federal pollution laws, but says it agreed to the deal as costs rose.

The EPA says this pact will reduce pollution that can hurt human health and cause acid rain.