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Middletown plant that received state subsidies violated environmental permits

State environmental regulators have announced that a major employer in Middletown has violated its permits. 

Clarios, formerly known as Johnson Controls, has been cited for permit violations by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).

The company, which manufactures and distributes car batteries from Middletown, has received millions of dollars in state subsidies — along with a ten-year property tax abatement from the town of Middletown when it expanded there in 2011. 

According to a Notice of Violation sent to the company early this month, Clarios’ distribution center on Patriot Drive operated part of its facility without an operating permit. It also exceeded its hydrogen gas and sulfuric acid air emissions limits. DNREC discovered some of the violations as early as fall 2018. 

DNREC spokesman Michael Globetti says the company is “currently noncompliant with their DNREC permit conditions.”

The agency is requiring Clarios to submit a revised air quality permit application within 60 days and an operating permit application by early June. 

Clarios spokeswoman Kari Pfisterer said in an emailed statement that the company is working with DNREC to understand the basis for the Notice of Violation, and is committed to operating at the “highest performance levels for environment, health and safety that is protective of both our employees and the communities in which we operate.”


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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