Three Wisconsin workers die in corn mill explosion, several more seriously injured
Three Wisconsin workers die in corn mill explosion, several more seriously injured.
An explosion at a Cambria, Wisconsin corn mill and ethanol plant Wednesday night took the life of three workers and injured nearly a dozen.
Spokesmen for the company reported that 16 workers were in the mill at the time of the explosion.
OSHA and other federal agencies have cited Didion Mills for multiple safety and environmental violations as far back as the early 2000s.
Purdue University, which tracks fatalities from grain dust explosions, reported five having occurred in the United States last year, killing two workers.
The company received no further OSHA citations thereafter.
In 2010, Didion agreed to pay $1.05 million to the Wisconsin Department of Justice to settle lawsuits that alleged the company violated state clean air and water regulations regards emissions from its plants into the air and into neighboring streams and lakes.
A month later, Democratic Governor Jim Doyle announced that Wisconsin had been awarded $14.5 million in federal stimulus money for so-called green energy projects, $5.6 million of which went to Didion Mills to significantly expand its corn milling and ethanol production.
The US Environmental Protection Agency had already referred to Didion as “a high priority violator” that had violated the federal Clean Water Act many times in 2008-2009, using excessive amounts of chlorine and other chemicals that found their way into water systems nearby.
When Didion Mills applied for the corn gas stimulus package, US officials overseeing the grants did not ask about previous environmental or OSHA safety violations.