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Petroleum Refiner To Reduce Air Emissions At Facilities In Seven States

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Thomas L. Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Thomas V. Skinner, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, today announced a comprehensive Clean Air Act settlement with ConocoPhillips that is expected to reduce harmful air emissions by more than 47,000 tons per year from nine U.S. petroleum refineries in seven states that represent nearly 10 percent of total refining capacity in the United States.

The states of Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, as well as the Northwest Clean Air Agency (the State of Washington), are joining the settlement. The agreement with the nation’s largest domestic petroleum refining company is part of EPA’s national effort to reduce air emissions from refineries.

A consent decree, filed today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District in Texas, will require ConocoPhillips to spend more than $525 million to install and implement innovative control technologies to reduce emissions at its refineries. ConocoPhillips’ actions under this agreement are expected to reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) by more than 10,000 tons and sulfur dioxide (SO2) by more than 37,100 tons per year. Emissions of particulate matter are expected to be significantly reduced. The air pollutants addressed by today’s agreements can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma.

"With this settlement, thousands of tons of pollutants will be taken out of the air, leading to a cleaner environment for all of us," said Assistant Attorney General Sansonetti. "Today's settlement with the largest petroleum refiner in America leads us closer to ensuring clean air compliance across the refining industry. The Department will continue to aggressively pursue these actions to reduce air pollution."

“This is the largest of 13 settlements that EPA has made with U.S. refiners,” said Skinner, Assistant EPA Administrator. “We now have legal agreements with companies representing more than half of domestic refining capacity. This is further evidence of EPA’s continuing efforts to ensure a level playing field.”

"Every person has an interest in the quality of the environment," said Michael Shelby, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas. "Today's decree will achieve a significant and long-term improvement in local air quality by requiring ConocoPhillips to spend half a billion dollars in the modernization of its facilities, equipment and processes."

To meet obligations under EPA’s New Source Review program, ConocoPhillips will cut emissions significantly from its largest emitting units through the use of innovative technologies. Under the negotiated settlement, ConocoPhillips will upgrade its leak detection and repair practices, implement programs to minimize flaring of hazardous gases, reduce emissions from its sulfur recovery plants, and adopt strategies to ensure the proper handling of hazardous benzene wastes at each refinery. The affected ConocoPhillips refineries are located in Belle Chasse, La.; Linden, N.J.; Borger and Sweeny, Texas; Carson/Wilmington, Calif.; Ferndale, Wash.; Rodeo/Santa Maria, Calif.; Trainer, Pa.; and Roxanna/Hartford, Ill.

ConocoPhillips will pay a $4.5 million civil penalty and spend more than $10 million on supplemental environmental projects to reduce emissions further and to support activities in the communities where it operates. The states joining the settlement will share in the penalties and supplemental projects to be performed by ConocoPhillips.

This is the 13th in a series of multi-issue, multi-facility settlements reached by EPA under its Petroleum Refinery Initiative. Over the past four years, the United States has reached similar agreements with: BP Exploration & Oil; Chevron; CHS (Cenex); Citgo; Coastal Eagle Point Oil; Conoco; Ergon Refining; Koch Petroleum; Lion Oil; Marathon Ashland Petroleum; Motiva/Equilon(Shell)/Shell Deer Park; and Navajo/Montana Refining. These settlements provide for a comprehensive, cooperative approach to addressing environmental problems across the industry. To date, settlements under this initiative are reducing pollution at 57 refineries that represent more than 50 percent of domestic refining capacity.

The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period.

For more information on the Petroleum Refinery Initiative, go to: