Minnesotan ethanol producer to pay $53,000 fine for environmental violations

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Winthrop, Minnesota-based ethanol producer Heartland Corn Products has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $53,000 (€47,842) for a number of environmental violations at its facility.

The fine, which will be paid to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), covers a variety of violations that came to light when the company carried out its own environmental audit in 2018 following a change in management.

In addition to paying the penalty fine, Heartland Corn Products will correct the violations it identified and will fully comply with various permits moving forward.

The company’s audit found that the facility had not been carrying out proper recordkeeping, performance testing or reporting to the MPCA on the operation and maintenance of its pollution control equipment. Additionally, Heartland had not fulfilled requirements related to managing stormwater and dust on the site, and handling hazardous wastes and used oil.

MPCA permits are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When calculating penalties, the agency takes into account how seriously the violations affected the environment, whether they were first-time or repeat violations, and how promptly the violations were reported to authorities.

Heartland Corn Products was founded in 1992 as a farmer-owned cooperative and is one of Minnesota’s first ethanol producers. The company produces ethanol, dried distillers grains and crude corn oil, employing around 50 staff members.