Blount Boats will pay a $24,000 penalty and spend at least $230,000 on a new “tent” building over its ways on the Warren River, to resolve federal claims that the boat-building company violated federal and state clean air regulations.
Blount received town approval in January to build the 44-foot-tall tent structure over its ways; the tent, Blount president Marcia Blount said, is necessary to prevent paint spray and other chemicals from escaping as workers finished hulls.
The financial penalty, announced late last week, stems from Blount’s existing spraying system. Officials from the federal Environmental Protection Agency alleged that Blount violated federal standards by using paints with hazardous air pollutants greater than the allowable limits, failing to keep required records of paint usage, and failing to submit notifications and reports to state and federal officials.
EPA officals also alleged that Blount violated Rhode Island regulations by failing to apply for and obtain permits upon the purchase of new paint spray guns four years ago. Other record keeping discrepancies and permit issues were cited in the EPA’s penalty.
To address the violations identified by EPA, Blount will submit a plan to federal officials and the state Department of Environmental Management, outlining how it will comply with appropriate regulations and obtain the proper permits for its work.
The settlement also called for the construction of the new modular structure along the yard’s launching ways. The shelter has a forced ventilation system and is designed to reduce harmful emissions from hazardous air pollutants, volatile organic compounds, and dust. Approved by the planning and zoning boards, Ms. Blount said the tent was necessary to help the company remain viable.
“If we were to get a contract” for a large vessel, “she would go on the ways and we would probably have to take down the tent,” she told the zoning board earlier this year. “We need the tent for certain things now, but we could sell it if we didn’t. We’re not necessarily wedded to it being there forever.”