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Honeywell agrees to $3M pollution fine

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A major producer of ingredients used in nylon and fertilizer agreed Thursday to pay a $3 million civil penalty for alleged air pollution violations at its Hopewell plant.

The agreement between federal authorities and Honeywell Resins and Chemicals LLC was filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond. The consent decree is subject to court approval.

Along with paying the fine, the company agreed to improve the plant's air pollution control equipment and processes.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the plant exceeded Clean Air Act limits on emissions of nitrogen oxide, benzene and other pollutants. The plant also allegedly failed to make required upgrades and repairs.

Honeywell did not admit to the alleged violations but has certified it's now in compliance with regulations.

The company said in a written statement that it is "committed to the highest standards of environmental compliance," and that system upgrades already are under way.

The Hopewell plant has been in operation since it was built in 1928 by Allied Chemical, a predecessor to Honeywell. The plant employs more than 600 workers and, according to Honeywell, is Virginia's second-largest exporter.

The civil penalty will be split evenly between the state and federal governments.