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PA OIL CO. TO PAY $5.3 MILLION FOR HAZARDOUS WASTE CRIME

Release Date: 12/13/96
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PA OIL CO. TO PAY $5.3 MILLION FOR HAZARDOUS WASTE CRIME

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1996

OIL COMPANY TO PAY $5.3 MILLION FOR HAZARDOUS WASTE CRIME

On Dec. 10, Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corp. (HOVIC), the refining arm of Amerada Hess Corp. of Woodbridge, N.J. and New York, N.Y., agreed to pay a total of $5.3 million in fines and restitution when it entered a guilty plea to felony charges of violating the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by illegally transporting hazardous waste. HOVIC admitted that between Dec. 11, 1991 and Feb. 9, 1992 it falsely declared that 1,402 55-gallon drums containing 617,980 pounds of "spent" refinery catalyst contained non-hazardous waste. The drums were then knowingly shipped via Puerto Rico, Texas, and Louisiana to Arizona where the catalyst was used as a source of alumina in the manufacture of Portland cement. Some of the drums contained levels of the chemical benzene which were 43.4 parts per million (ppm). That level is more than 85 times the EPA regulatory limit of .5 ppm. Levels of benzene above .5 ppm are considered to be hazardous to human health and the environment. Benzene exposure can cause liver and kidney damage and it is a known carcinogen. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Texas Water Commission.

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