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Monday, December 2, 2019

DEP Orders Hemp Drying Facility Patriot Shield to Cease Operation

Pittsburgh, PA – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today issued an administrative order to Patriot Shield Pennsylvania, LLC, a hemp drying facility in Jeannette, Westmoreland County, to cease operation. This enforcement action follows two notices of violation sent to the facility following citizen complaints and inspections by DEP staff documenting malodors, as well as the installation and operation of equipment without DEP authorization.

The order, among other things:
• Requires Patriot Shield to cease operation within 48 hours of receipt and not install any air contamination sources and air cleaning devices unless and until authorized by DEP; and
• Prohibits Patriot Shield from accepting deliveries of, processing or storing hemp material at the site unless and until authorized by DEP.

If Patriot Shield intends to continue operations at the site, it must submit the following to DEP within 45 days:
• A plan approval application for the installation and operation of air contamination sources and/or air cleaning devices; OR
• A new request for determination (RFD) for the installation and operation of air contamination sources and/or air cleaning devices.

While hemp drying facilities are relatively new operations in this area, they must follow Pennsylvania’s air quality regulations by obtaining DEP authorization through a request for a determination or an application for an air quality plan approval prior to installation and operation of any air contamination source or air cleaning device.

In addition to issuing the order, DEP is also inviting the operator to a meeting to discuss permitting requirements. DEP routinely meets with entities considering operations and has a tool on its website to assist entities in determining what or if permits are required. More on DEP’s Permit Application Consultation Tool (PACT) can be found here https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/PACT/.

While this order does not include a civil penalty, DEP retains the authority to seek civil penalties from Patriot Shield.

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