Honeywell Reaches Settlement On Clean Air Violations

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Honeywell International Inc. will pay the federal government $550,000 to settle civil claims of Clean Air Act violations at its Baton Rouge plant in 2003.

Three accidents at the plant that summer resulted in the death of an employee and injuries to other people.

U.S. District Judge James J. Brady approved the civil settlement late Tuesday, court records showed Wednesday. The agreement ended claims against the firm by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Honeywell must pay the $550,000 by Oct. 29, according to the terms of the settlement agreement.

In a criminal case two years ago, Honeywell was ordered by U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson to pay a fine of $8 million and restitution of $4 million for the same three accidents.

Plant worker Delvin Henry, 32, died from third-degree burns the day after he opened a mislabeled cylinder of toxic and corrosive antimony pentachloride. Tyson awarded $2 million of Honeywell's restitution to Henry's family.

Earlier that summer, chlorine leaked into the plant's control room, injuring eight people and sending four of them to a hospital.

A third accident exposed two workers to liquid hydrofluoric acid. One was hospitalized.

In 2007, Honeywell pleaded guilty to one criminal count of negligently causing the release of hazardous air pollutants and endangering the life of a person. In a plea agreement, the company pledged to pay the fines and restitution ordered by Tyson.

At Honeywell's headquarters in Morristown, N.J., spokeswoman Nina Krauss issued a short written statement Wednesday.

"Honeywell takes its commitments to safety, health and the environment seriously," Krauss wrote. "Over the past several years, we have made substantial investments in expertise, equipment and personnel at the Baton Rouge facility and have significantly improved safety and environmental performance there."

"We continue to strive for safety excellence at all of our facilities," Krauss concluded.

Should Honeywell fail to pay the penalty of $550,000 on schedule, the civil-suit settlement agreement states, it must pay an additional $1,000 for each day's delay.

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