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Swift Plant Settles Some, But Not All, Violations With Louisville Air District

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Louisville Metro has reachedan agreement with the J.B. Swift plant in Butchertown over some administrative violations, but the plant’s issues with alleged odor violations remain unresolved.The Air Pollution Control Board today approved fining Swift $24,550 for failing to correctly report particulate, carbon monoxide and greenhouse gas emissions from 2009 to 2012.The original notices of violation provided for fines of up to $98,000.As I reported back in March: The Notice of Violation issued by the Louisville Air Pollution Control District alleges that the JBS Swift plant in Butchertown let objectionable odors leave the plant numerous times over the past two years, and cites more than 50 complaints from local residents. The facility was also fined for failing to report emissions and keep monitoring records. Andrew Cornelius is the president of the Butchertown Neighborhood Association, and says at times, his neighborhood smells like either a slaughterhouse or animal waste. But he adds it’s gratifying to see the city take some action to stop the odors. “The fines are a good start and hopefully by keeping up the fines and keeping Swift on the radar of Air Pollution Control that we can hopefully work towards better compliance and relieving some of the nuisance that facility creates for the city of Louisville,” he said.But there still isn’t agreement on some of the alleged violations.“As you know, we’ve issued [Notices of Violations] to Swift and settled NOVs with Swift over the years,” APCD spokesman Tom Nord said. “The current NOVs involved two areas: one, of course, the odor issue you’ve heard about, but also some paperwork and recordkeeping violations, basic permit conditions they weren’t meeting.”The $24,550 settlement agreed to today includes those paperwork violations, but not the odor violations. Nord said the agency is still hopeful a settlement can be reached on those issues.“We still have the outstanding odor issues that are still out there, that aspect of the NOV. We continue to work with them to try to settle that,” he said. “We’re hopeful that we can all kind of come together and have a way forward on that.”If the APCD and Swift can’t agree on a settlement for those violations, there will be an administrative hearing to resolve the matter. There have only been two administrative hearings in the past decade—both in 2006.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.