Malarkey Roofing Co. has reached an agreement with the Oregon Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) to maintain and monitor pollution controls while paying $1.45 million in penalties.

The settlement, reached on July 27, came nine months after the Oregon DEQ issued a $2.1 million fine — the largest fine in the agency’s history — for a decade of air quality violations. 

In 2009, Malarkey modified one of its emissions units, but did not notify the DEQ. In 2018, Malarkey discovered it was producing formaldehyde emissions higher than expected during a voluntary review of its fiberglass mat operations and disclosed the information to the Oregon DEQ. The DEQ determined Malarkey was in violation of environmental law for operating for 10 years without a required Title V air quality permit and without proper pollution control equipment.

According to the DEQ, the fine was reduced to $1.45 million after Malarkey demonstrated fewer avoided costs from the violation. The agreement directs Malarkey to consider paying up to $1.16 million of the final $1.45 million penalty towards DEQ-approved projects — known as supplemental environmental projects — that provide air quality benefits to the surrounding community. 

“Supplemental environmental projects are a critical remedy for the communities harmed by environmental violations,” said Kieran O’Donnell, DEQ office of compliance and enforcement manager. “This agreement puts Malarkey on track for compliance and gives the company the opportunity to engage with the surrounding community to rectify the violations.”

Along with paying the reduced fine, the agreement requires Malarkey to submit an “Operation, Maintenance and Monitoring Plan” for pollution controls that were installed in 2020 within 45 days to DEQ for approval. In addition, Malarkey must report to DEQ monthly to confirm the pollution controls are operating effectively. Both the plan and the monthly reporting requirements will be rolled into Malarkey’s updated air quality permit.

“We are committed to operate according to the highest standards of health, safety and environment across all our sites. That’s why we took immediate corrective action and resolved the air emission issue once we became aware of it,” said Dale Rushing, Malarkey president, in a written statement. “Malarkey Roofing Products has been rooted in the North Portland community for nearly 70 years. We take our responsibility as a neighbor very seriously and are looking forward to working together with local organizations to fund their environmental projects." 

Friends of Trees, a nonprofit tree-planting organization, is one of the intended organizations identified for implementing one of Malarkey’s local supplemental environmental projects. Friends of Trees will lead volunteer-based new plantings in North Portland neighborhoods. The organization, with branches in Portland and Eugene, also provides green space restoration, tree maintenance and educational programming to the local communities. 

“This supplemental environmental project from Malarkey, in coordination with DEQ, comes at a great time for Friends of Trees and more importantly, the North Portland community,” said Yashar Vasef, executive director at Friends of Trees. “The proposed project area is in a historically low canopy area. With this opportunity, we can continue making North Portland a more verdant and healthier neighborhood in the city.”