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Graphic Packaging issued violation from Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy over unauthorized construction
KALAMAZOO, Michigan (From news reports) -- Graphic Packaging has been issued a notice of violation by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

EGLE is ordering the company to cease the use of one of its boilers for its recycled paperboard line.

According to a statement by EGLE officials, an air permit was approved in March to allow Graphic Packaging to add a paperboard line to its facility where it produces paper products from recycled material.

Since then, EGLE officials say Graphic Packaging had requested to make changes to some of the equipment that emits air contaminants. To make those changes, the company was required to seek approval from EGLE through changes to its air permit.

Officials say Graphic Packaging had begun to install equipment before the permit was approved, which is a violation of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended.

Based on this information, EGLE issued a violation notice on Nov. 20. Graphic Packaging has until Dec. 11 to respond. Once a response is received and reviewed, EGLE will determine if additional enforcement action against the company will be taken.

Previously, EGLE sought public input during a six-week comment period that included an information session and public hearing. After a review of public comments, EGLE revised the air permit to require Graphic Packaging to permanently shut down Boiler 7 by May 1, 2022.

Officials say the boiler shutdown reduces the facility's increase in greenhouse gas emissions related to the project. Emissions from the proposed project are not expected to cause health concerns or concerns regarding the area's environmental quality.

As part of the requirements of its March air permit, Graphic Packaging had to develop and implement an Odor Investigation Plan.

Results from the investigation were sent to EGLE on November 3. This investigation was required after EGLE cited Graphic Packaging eight times since 2012 for odor violations after concerns were raised by the public.

EGLE has received more than 100 complaints related to the company since 2010 and more than 80 of these were for odors. Graphic Packaging is also required to submit to EGLE an Odor Minimization Plan by early January 2021.

If residents have complaints about Graphic Packaging, they should contact Monica Brothers of EGLE's Air Quality Division in the Kalamazoo District Office at 269-312-2535 or at BrothersM@Michigan.gov.

This comes after the City of Kalamazoo had voted to allow a tax break for Graphic Packaging, although heavily amended to make environmental impact improvements.

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