FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEEPA: (202) 564-4355
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2001DOJ: (202) 514-2008
TDD (202) 514-1888
CLEAN AIR AGREEMENTS REACHED WITH PETROLEUM REFINERS
Settlements With Motiva, Equilon and Deer Park Refining Will
Reduce Air Pollution in Several States
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department, the U.S. EPA, the states of Louisiana and Delaware, and the Northwest Air Pollution Authority today announced agreements with three petroleum refiners that will reduce air emissions from nine refineries by over 60,000 tons per year. The agreements with Motiva Enterprises, Equilon Enterprises, and Deer Park Refining Limited Partnership will affect petroleum refineries located in Delaware, Louisiana, Texas, California, and Washington.
These settlements are part of an effort to reduce harmful air pollution released illegally from petroleum refineries. Consent decrees filed in federal court in Houston call for the companies to spend an estimated $400 million to install up-to-date pollution-control equipment and significantly reduce emissions from process units, wastewater vents, leaking valves, and flares throughout the refineries. The agreements also resolve alleged violations of federal and state hazardous waste and toxics laws at Motiva's Convent, La., and Port Arthur, Texas refineries and the Deer Park, Texas refinery.
"I'm pleased to be working with the EPA on this victory for our environment," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "Protecting our natural resources through strong enforcement of environmental law is a top priority for the Department of Justice. I look forward to continuing our fight for cleaner air and water."
"This settlement provides Americans with cleaner, healthier air, and it protects our precious environment by reducing significant amounts of harmful air pollutants," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "We commend Motiva, Equilon, and Deer Park for taking the initiative to resolve their environmental problems cooperatively and quickly. We hope other companies will follow their lead."
The companies also will collectively pay a $9.5 million civil penalty under the Clean Air Act and spend about $5.5 million on environmental projects in communities affected by the refineries' pollution. The states of Delaware, Louisiana and the Northwest Air Pollution Authority, a regional air agency in Washington State, are joining the United States in these settlements and will share the penalties and environmental projects with the federal government.
Motiva Enterprises LLC, Equilon Enterprises LLC, and Deer Park Refining Limited Partnership have formed an alliance to operate nine refineries in the United States. This consortium is the second-largest domestic refiner, with a combined capacity of 1.4 million barrels a day. Today's settlements will not reduce the capacity of these refineries but will require that their production emit less pollutants.
The agreements will address air pollutants - nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulate emissions - that can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma. Toxic air pollutants produced in the refining process can cause cancer.
Under today's settlements, the refiners will cut nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate emissions from the nine refineries by more than 60,000 tons a year by using innovative technologies. Improved leak detection and repair practices and other pollution-control upgrades will significantly reduce emissions of smog-causing volatile organic compounds and benzene, a known carcinogen. The agreements will also benefit workers and local communities by including improved safety measures to reduce the risk of accidental release of pollutants.
Investigations have shown that many petroleum refiners have made major modifications to their facilities, increasing capacity and air emissions, without installing the pollution control equipment required by the law. In addition, many refiners are illegally flaring acid gases and are failing to minimize fugitive emissions throughout their facilities. The combined state and federal government's settlements with petroleum refiners provide for a comprehensive, cooperative approach to addressing these environmental problems across the industry.
This enforcement effort is the result of state and federal agencies working together to address serious problems and produce settlements that provide for comprehensive relief, penalties that recapture any economic benefit, and pollution control equipment that will assure there are no future violations. Because the company negotiated in good faith, this settlement is accomplished without litigation.
Refineries affected by today's settlements:
- Delaware City, De. (Motiva)
- Norco, La. (Motiva)
- Convent, La. (Motiva)
- Port Arthur, Texas (Motiva)
- Bakersfield, Ca. (Equilon)
- Los Angeles (Equilon)
- Martinez, Ca. (Equilon)
- Anacortes, Wash. (Equilon)
Deer Park, Texas (owner: Deer Park Refining Limited Partnership; operator: Shell Oil Company).