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News release

July 3, 2024


Stephen Mikkelson, 218-316-3887,

Packaging Corporation of America fined $10,230 for air permit violations at International Falls facility

Packaging Corporation of America failed to report an October 2023 incident in which a transport truck released lime dust that drifted and deposited on area school playground equipment, vehicles, and vegetation near its paper production facility in International Falls, Minnesota, according to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation.

This release was originally reported by local school officials. The company did also report to the Minnesota Duty Officer and submitted a report to the MPCA, but not within the timeframe described in its permit. The company’s air permit requires immediate reporting of incidents to the Minnesota Duty Officer and to submit a written report of the incident to the MPCA within two business days.

The violations included failing to:

  • Take reasonable precautions, and transporting quicklime in a way that deviated from the safety data sheet protocols intended to prevent the discharge of visible fugitive dust emissions beyond the facility’s property lines.
  • Report a release as soon as possible. 
  • Submit a written report within two working days of discovery.

In addition to paying the $10,230 civil penalty, Packaging Corporation of America has completed a series of corrective actions including submitting:

  • An updated fugitive emissions control plan including lime truck unloading strategies for that activity.
  • A plan to ensure Minnesota Duty Officer notifications and related written reports are submitted on time.

MPCA rules and regulations are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When companies do not fully comply with regulatory requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment. 

When calculating penalties, the MPCA considers how seriously the violations affected or could have affected the environment, and whether they were first-time or repeat violations. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner. 

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