Green Business

BP Products Fined $180 Million for Clean Air Violations

| by DOJ

BP Products to Pay Nearly $180 Million to Settle Clean Air Violations at Texas City Refinery

WASHINGTON—BP Products North America Inc. has agreed to spend more than $161
million on pollution controls, enhanced maintenance and monitoring, and improved
internal management practices to resolve Clean Air Act violations at its Texas
City, Texas, refinery, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) announced today.  The company will also pay a $12 million civil
penalty and spend $6 million on a supplemental project to reduce air pollution
in Texas City.

Today’s settlement addresses the company’s noncompliance with a 2001 consent
decree and Clean Air Act regulations requiring strict controls on benzene and
benzene-containing wastes generated during petroleum refining operations.  The
company is required to upgrade control equipment and processes used to handle
these materials and conduct in-depth audits to ensure compliance and minimize
the amount of benzene-containing wastes generated at the refinery.  It is
estimated that these actions will reduce emissions of benzene and other
volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by approximately 6,000 pounds annually.

“The Department of Justice and the EPA will aggressively pursue those who
fail to comply with the laws that protect our environment, and we will hold them
accountable,” said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the
Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  “This new
agreement requires stringent new measures to protect air quality and public
health in Texas beyond those originally required at the Texas City
Refinery.”

Popular Video

A police officer saw a young black couple drive by and pulled them over. What he did next left them stunned:

Popular Video

A police officer saw a young black couple drive by and pulled them over. What he did next left them stunned:

“BP failed to fulfill its obligations under the law, putting air quality and
public health at risk,” said Catherine R. McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator
for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.  “Today’s settlement
will benefit the people living in and around Texas City, many of whom come from
minority and low-income backgrounds.”

EPA identified the violations addressed in today’s settlement during a series
of inspections of the Texas City refinery initiated after a catastrophic
explosion and fire in March 2005 that killed 15 people and injured more than 170
others.  In October 2007, the company pleaded guilty to a felony violation of
the Clean Air Act and agreed to pay a $50 million fine for violations related to
the explosion, the largest criminal fine ever assessed against a corporation for
Clean Air Act violations.  The plea is still under review by the U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of Texas, and today’s settlement does not
address any claims arising from the March 2005 explosion.

The settlement requires that BP address violations of Clean Air Act
requirements limiting emissions of stratospheric ozone-depleting
hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) from leaking cooling appliances.  BP will
eliminate approximately 51,000 pounds of HCFCs by retrofitting industrial and
commercial cooling appliances at Texas City to use non-ozone-depleting
refrigerants.  The company also has agreed to improve its oversight and
management of asbestos-containing wastes generated during routine renovation and
demolition activities at the Texas City refinery.

As part of the settlement, the company will spend an additional $6 million to
reduce air pollution from diesel vehicle emissions in Texas City and the
surrounding area.  BP will convert approximately 100 diesel municipal vehicles,
including several dozen school buses, to operate on compressed or liquefied
natural gas and will construct four refueling stations for the converted
vehicles.  As a result, emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and
hydrocarbons from these vehicles will be substantially reduced.

Exposure to benzene, a hazardous air pollutant, is known to cause a number of
acute and chronic health effects, including cancer, nerve and immunity
impairment, and adverse reproductive and developmental effects, among
others.

HCFCs and other ozone-depleting substances, when released into the
environment, destroy the earth’s protective stratospheric ozone layer.  Exposure
to asbestos, a known human carcinogen, can cause asbestosis and two types of
cancer: lung cancer and mesothelioma.

BP Products North America, headquartered in Warrenville, Ill., operates
petroleum refineries in California, Indiana, Ohio, Texas and Washington. The
Texas City refinery, the third largest in the nation, has a production capacity
of more than 460,000 barrels per day.

POST YOUR COMMENTS BELOW