Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ExxonMobil strikes again!

DOJ just released the news that ExxonMobil has agreed to pay nearly $6.1 million in civil penalties for violating the terms of a 2005 court-approved Clean Air Act agreement.  HT Walter James, Environmental Crimes Blog.

The 2005 settlement already required ExxonMobil to pay a $7.7 million civil
penalty,  perform an additional $6.7 million in supplemental
environmental projects in communities around the company's refineries,
and install pollution controls at six of its U.S. refineries.

"The Department of Justice will not tolerate violation of our consent
decrees," said Assistant Attorney General Ronald J. Tenpas of the
Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.  "The
significant penalty in this case shows that non-compliance with
settlement requirements will have serious consequences."

"The 2005 settlement has already resulted in major reductions in air
emissions from the company's refineries, but we need full compliance to
realize all the benefits of the settlement," said Granta Y. Nakayama,
assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance
Assurance.  "EPA will continue to enforce against companies that fail to
comply with the terms of court-approved settlements."

The agreement penalizes ExxonMobil for failing to comply with
the 2005 settlement at four refineries in Beaumont and Baytown, Texas;
Torrance, Calif.; and Baton Rouge, La.  Most of the penalties are for
failure to monitor and control the sulfur content in certain fuel gas
streams burned in refinery furnaces, as required by the 2005 settlement
and EPA regulations.  The other two refineries covered under the 2005
settlement are located in Joliet, Ill. and Billings, Mont.

Between approximately 2005 and 2007, ExxonMobil did not monitor the
sulfur content in some fuel gas streams and subsequent testing revealed
sulfur content in excess of EPA limits.  The burning of
sulfur-containing gases emits sulfur dioxide, which can cause serious
respiratory problems.

The 2005 settlement and today's penalty settlement with ExxonMobil were
reached as part of a broader EPA initiative to reduce air pollution from
refineries nationwide. To date, 95 refineries located in 28 states,
representing more than 86 percent of the nation's refining capacity,
have been required to install new controls to significantly reduce
emissions.

In a separate action today, EPA and the Justice Department are proposing
amendments to the 2005 settlement that include minor technical changes
and new deadlines for some required activities at ExxonMobil's Joliet,
Billings, and Beaumont and Baytown refineries.  The proposed amendments,
filed today with the U.S. District Court in Chicago, are subject to a
30-day public comment period.

        For more information on the Petroleum Refinery Initiative:
http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/caa/oil/index.html

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/environmental_law/2008/12/exxonmobil-stri.html

Air Quality, Cases, Economics, Energy, Governance/Management, Law, US | Permalink

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