Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) secured an air quality permit last week from Oregon regulators for its Washington County manufacturing operations. In 2013, the permit was sidetracked after it was found that the chip maker failed to disclose that it had been emitting fluoride for the past 25 years, says a report from Oregon Live.
No evidence that Intel emissions pose health risk
There is no evidence to support that the fluoride emissions pose a health risk, but the fact that the chip maker did not disclose them outraged environmentalists. Intel apologized for the problem, made attempts to get a new permit and spent several months negotiating with regulators.
Environmental groups threatened to sue the chip maker, thus forcing it to reach a settlement after paying a fine of $143,000, the report says. As per the settlement, Intel carried out an “air quality risk assessment” to take a count of all pollutants from its factories. The results of the assessment, which was completed in November, are available online as well.
Intel also agreed to third-party monitoring of air quality near its factories and reached a “Good Neighbor Agreement” with nearby residents, the report said. This agreement includes the terms of future emissions monitoring, emissions levels and dispute resolution. On Jan. 22, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued a permit to Intel after the completion of the required steps, the report says.
Emissions now limited and cataloged
Intel has its headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., but its manufacturing group is based in Hillsboro. It manufactures each new generation of microprocessors at its Ronler Acres campus south of Hillsboro Stadium. The company is in the final stages of completing a pair of massive new research factories, collectively known as D1X.
Intel refused to comment on the matter, but Mary Peveto called the result a major win for neighbors. Peveto, founder of “Neighbors for Clean Air,” said there is a possibility that Intel’s emissions are not harmless, but now they will be limited and cataloged so that the people are well aware of what they’re breathing in.
“The risks that Intel poses will be below a threshold we all agreed to which is much more stringent than our state or federal government requires,” Peveto told Oregon Live.