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BAE to back fuels and duck fine

SHARON CASKEY HAYES • Mar 6, 2007 at 8:54 AM

KINGSPORT - Instead of paying a civil penalty for improperly reporting some emissions data, BAE Systems has agreed to perform a "supplemental environmental project" and pay $59,000 to help grow the use of alternative fuels in the region.

Jerry Hammonds, general manager of BAE Systems, the operating contractor for Holston Army Ammunition Plant, said Tuesday the company notified the state that it had failed to properly provide some environmental emissions data on certain dates in 2004 and 2005.

"They recognized that we took remedial actions," said Hammonds, adding the company has taken steps to correct the situation and prevent similar incidents in the future.

In lieu of a civil penalty, BAE Systems has agreed to perform a supplemental environmental project in which it will pay $59,000 to the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition to help support the development of B20 biodiesel and E85 ethanol pumps at retail stations in Sullivan and Washington counties.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced the agreement Tuesday, saying it complements the Tennessee Department of Transportation's new $1.5 million retail refueling infrastructure grant program.

"The project will not only benefit air quality through the availability and use of alternative fuels in Washington and Sullivan counties, it also complements the efforts of the state of Tennessee under Governor Bredesen's direction to develop and promote a statewide alternative fuels infrastructure," said Paul Sloan, deputy commissioner of the Department of Environment and Conservation.

Through the retail refueling infrastructure grant program, TDOT will provide station owners with funds to install B20 and E85 pumps across the state. Those stations will be located on major corridor highways and inside large metro areas.

Jonathan Overly, executive director of the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition, said his organization will use the funds from BAE Systems to reach other stations that may not be covered under the TDOT program.

"Maybe if it's a little outside the metro area, or on the outskirts of the city, that might be a better opportunity for us to help them with funding," Overly said.

He said the Clean Fuels Coalition will consider applications from local station owners who want to establish B20 and/or E85 service at their businesses. Funds could be used to clean old diesel pumps for B20 use or to convert old gasoline pumps for E85.

But Overly doesn't expect applications to pour in. He said station owners realize that B20 and E85 sales won't initially "go through the roof."

"We're going to have to build use over time," Overly said.

"People that own stations - most of them know that fuel makes very little money. Candy bars and Coke and all the other stuff is what really makes the money. But everybody sees the big picture here. The writing is on the wall. We've got to get other alternatives in use," he said.

For more information about Tennessee's efforts to develop and promote alternative fuels visit www.tdec.net/altfuels. For information on TDOT's retail refueling infrastructure grant program visit www.tdot.state.tn.us/biofuel/application.htm.

For information about the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition visit www.etcfc.org.

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