Falcon Foam will cease molding expanded polystyrene foam at its Los Angeles facility as of Dec. 31 and move the operation to Tijuana, Mexico. The action continues a trend of EPS molders exiting California.
Falcon Foam will pay $369,000 for air pollution violations and terminate EPS molding in Los Angeles as part of consent degrees with the South Coast Air Quality Management District on Nov. 4 and Region 9 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 17.
``We will continue to do after-molding [embossing and laminating] in Los Angeles for a while,'' said Bob Jakes, Falcon Foam director of sales and marketing.
Falcon Foam, a division of Meridian, Miss.-based Atlas Roofing Corp., is negotiating in Tijuana to establish the molding capability and begin operations in early 2006, Jakes said by phone.
The Los Angeles change does not impact Falcon Foam's EPS facilities in Byron Center, Mich., and Perryville, Mo.
``We have secured alternate sources of [foam] block for the transition period,'' Jakes said.
The South Coast district's board has granted emission-control variances to Falcon for about six years, said Tina Cherry, a spokeswoman with the agency in Diamond Bar, Calif.
Under Clean Air Act requirements, the EPA cited the Los Angeles operation in March 2004, said Margaret Waldon, an EPA air enforcement case developer.
The district ``requires manufacturing and storage emissions be limited to no more than 2.4 pounds of volatile organic compounds per 100 pounds of raw materials used in the process or be controlled through the use of an adequate air pollution control device,'' according to an EPA news release. ``Falcon Foam did not meet this limit.''
In late June, Falcon Foam informed South Coast Air Quality of its intention to close rather than install emission controls, Cherry said.
In the presence of sunlight, VOCs react with pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, to form ground-level ozone, or smog.
Atlas Roofing acquired the Perryville plant, then known as NPS Inc., in 1998 from the estate of Steve Hastings. It bought the Byron Center and Los Angeles sites, together known as Falcon Foam, from Owens Corning in early 2000.
Another California business, Advance Foam Plastics Inc., agreed under an October EPA settlement to shut down production of EPS insulation material in Azusa.
Advance said it would move the operation to Tijuana. Advance is a unit of ACH Foam Technologies LLC of Denver.
Several other EPS molders have folded other California operations in recent years.
In California, remaining EPS block molding operations include the Chino and Dixon plants among 11 domestic operations of Premier Industries Inc.'s Insulfoam business unit and the Oxnard plant of Diversified Panel Systems Inc. Each site operates with an environmental variance. Primarily, the plants make construction materials.