October 24, 2014
By Daniel Fitzgerald

EPA proposal would hit Eramet, Felman

NEW YORK - Proposed changes to federal emissions regulations could force manganese alloy producers Eramet Marietta Inc and Felman Production LLC to undertake multimillion-dollar upgrades to their facilities.

The US Environmental Protection Agency is proposing amendments to national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants that would affect Eramet's Marietta, Ohio, ferromanganese smelter and Felman's Letart, West Virginia, silicomanganese facility.

The amendments would see Eramet and Felman "incur costs for the design of a local ventilation system, resulting in a site-specific local ventilation plan and installation of custom hoods and ventilation equipment, and additional control devices to manage the airflows generated by the enhanced capture systems," the EPA said in a Federal Register filing.

"There would also be capital costs associated with installing new or improved continuous monitoring systems, including installation of (a bag leak-detection system) on the furnace baghouses that are not currently equipped with these systems," the agency added.

The capital costs for these upgrades are estimated at $25 million for Eramet Marietta, along with $5.4 million in annualized costs; and $12.4 million for Felman, with $1.7 million in annualized costs.

"In total, these costs could lead to an increase in annualized cost of as much as 1.8% of sales, which serves as an estimate for the increase in product prices, and a decrease in output of as much as 9.5%," according to the filing.

The EPA estimates that the proposed amendments would cut hazardous air-pollutant emissions-primarily particulate metal pollutants such as manganese, arsenic and nickel-by about 60%.

"Under the revised proposed emissions standards for process fugitives emissions from the furnace building, we estimate that the (hazardous air-pollutant) emissions reductions would be 77 tonnes per year, including significant reductions of manganese," the EPA said.

Felman representatives declined to comment ahead of a public filing on the matter, and representatives for Eramet Marietta couldn't be reached.

Public comments on the proposal are being accepted until Nov. 20.

Both companies have previously opposed EPA changes to national emissions standards. They have argued that such changes would lead to massive increases in costs, which would leave them unable to compete with foreign producers that aren’t subject to such rules (, Feb. 8, 2012 ).