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EPA and the New Mexico Environment Department Reach Settlement with Western Refining

Release Date: 09/09/2009
Contact Information: Dave Bary at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

(Dallas, Texas – September 9, 2009) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) have jointly entered into a Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) with Western Refining to resolve violations of federal hazardous waste rules.

Western operates a petroleum refinery in Jamestown, New Mexico, approximately 17 miles east of Gallup. The refinery had multiple violations stemming from its storage and treatment of hazardous waste containing benzene, a human carcinogen present in petroleum. EPA and NMED together brought these violations to the attention of Western and the facility engaged in meetings with EPA and NMED to resolve the violations.
"The Environmental Protection Agency will continue to vigorously enforce our nation's environmental laws," said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Lawrence E. Starfield. "Our enforcement staff worked very closely and effectively with the New Mexico Environment Department to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for New Mexico residents."

“This agreement signals Western’s commitment to make significant and much-needed improvements in how the company handles and treats wastes at the refinery,” added New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry. “The Environment Department will continue to provide careful oversight of these improvements to ensure Western backs up its commitments with action.”

Western Refining has agreed to pay a fine of $734,008, cease all discharges of benzene in the aeration lagoons, and close the two aeration lagoons that received hazardous waste. Western has further agreed to construct an upgraded waste water treatment facility, and dismantle all benzene air strippers once the waste water treatment facility is complete. Western will provide financial assurance for the closure of both aeration lagoons and the removal of all benzene strippers at the facility.

More about activities in EPA Region 6: http://www.epa.gov/region6

EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/podcast/sep2009.html

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