Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Cara Smith
877-844-5461 (TTY)
October 31, 2006


Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Director Doug Scott announced that Illinois, seven other Midwest and Southern states, and the federal government have reached an agreement with soybean and corn processing giant Bunge North American, Inc. that includes significant improvements to emissions controls at two  Illinois facilities.  The agreement also will direct approximately $500,000 to public safety projects in Pulaski, Alexander and Vermilion counties and the city of Danville.

“This is a very significant agreement that will greatly benefit our state,” Madigan said. “The environment and public health will benefit from reductions in pollutant emissions which will help to improve air quality, improve water quality, decrease global warming and reduce emission of potentially cancer-causing compounds such as volatile organic chemicals (VOC).  In addition, Illinois citizens will benefit from the supplemental projects that are a part of this agreement that will greatly improve the ability of communities to respond to emergencies,” Madigan continued.

“Bunge’s actions needed to be dealt with,” said IEPA Director Doug Scott.  “The combination of the emissions controls added to their process and the Supplemental Environmental Projects will result in significant benefits for the people of Illinois and the other affected states.”

In addition to Illinois, other states included in the agreement are Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio.  The U.S. Department of Justice lodged the consent decree October 26 in federal court in Urbana where it will be subject to a public comment period and subsequent judicial approval.

Madigan said Illinois projects that will receive the approximate $500,000 announced with the Bunge agreement include:

  • $54,000 for hazardous materials response equipment and training for the Alexander County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency (ESDA),

  • $90,000 to the Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) for hazardous materials response equipment and training,

  • $62,000 to the Pulaski County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency (ESDA) for hazardous materials response equipment and training, and

  • $294,000 to the Danville Department of Public Development Division of Community Development for residential lead abatement projects.

In 2001, several states and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) regional offices began investigating Bunge and other soybean processors.  Bunge North American, headquartered in St. Louis, is the largest oilseed processor on the continent, the world’s largest corn dry miller and a leading exporter of grain and soybean-derived products.  Two Bunge facilities in Illinois subject to the terms of the agreement are in Danville and Cairo.  The Danville facility processes both soy and corn.

Among other violations, Bunge is alleged to have made major modifications at 12 plants throughout the country without obtaining appropriate permits and without adding required emission control technology.  The specific pollutants at issue include VOC, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, N-hexane and nitrogen oxide.

In 2002, the USEPA sent a Notice of Violation to the Danville processing facility.  The company began negotiations with the USEPA, Illinois and the various states in 2003. 

Madigan said that under the terms of the agreement, Bunge’s facilities will be subject to more stringent emission limits.  The company also will be required to upgrade or install better control technologies, including the proposed “Phenix” system, a pilot project employing clean coal burning technology, at its Cairo facility which should allow for the efficient burning of higher sulfur coal such as the coal mined in Illinois.

The consent decree will be in effect for approximately three years and should result in a reduction of over 2,000 tons of air pollutants a year.  Along with the Phenix system, other proposed technical improvements that Bunge will make to its Illinois facilities include replacing a first effect evaporator in Cairo and installing controls on DT/DC (corn only), upgrading the mineral oil system, improving the hexane temperature control, optimizing the lime injection system (soy only) and performing a root cause analysis for malfunction events at the Danville facility.

Bunge also will pay a civil penalty of $625,000, of which Illinois will receive $66,000.  The $500,000 Illinois will receive in supplemental project funds from the settlement is part of a total $1.25 million Bunge has agreed to provide to seven other states including Indiana and Iowa.

Assistant Attorney General Javonna Homan is handling the case for Madigan’s Environmental Bureau.


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