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U.S. Announces Clean Air Agreement with Chevron U.S.A. - Petroleum Refiner to Reduce Air Emissions at Refineries in Four States

Release Date: 10/16/2003
Contact Information:

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WWW.USDOJ.GOV
ENRD (202) 514-2007
EPA (202) 564-4355

U.S. ANNOUNCES CLEAN AIR AGREEMENT WITH CHEVRON U.S.A.
Petroleum Refiner to Reduce Air Emissions at Refineries in Four States

(WASHINGTON, D.C. -- 10/16/03) The U.S. Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Attorney, San Francisco, today announced a comprehensive Clean Air Act settlement with Chevron U.S.A. Inc. The settlement is expected to reduce harmful air emissions by almost 10,000 tons per year from five U.S. petroleum refineries that represent more than five percent of the total refining capacity in the United States.

The states of Hawaii, Mississippi, and Utah and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in California are joining the settlement, which is part of EPA's national effort to reduce air emissions from refineries.

A consent decree filed today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Calif., will require Chevron to spend an estimated $275 million to install and implement innovative control technologies to reduce emissions at its refineries. Chevron’s actions under this agreement will reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) by more than 3,300 tons and sulfur dioxide (SO2) by nearly 6,300 tons. The air pollutants addressed by today's agreements can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma.

“The emissions reductions required by this settlement will lead to cleaner air and significant environmental and public health benefits,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas L. Sansonetti. “We expect to continue our strong enforcement efforts and see to it that other refiners will follow suit by improving environmental controls to reduce harmful emissions.”

To meet obligations under EPA’s New Source Review program, Chevron will cut emissions significantly from its largest emitting units through the use of innovative technologies. In addition, under the negotiated settlement, Chevron will upgrade its leak detection and repair practices, implement programs to minimize flaring of hazardous gases, reduce emissions from its sulphur recovery plants and adopt strategies to ensure the proper handling of hazardous benzene wastes at each refinery. The affected Chevron refineries are located in Richmond and El Segundo, Calif., Pascagoula, Miss., Salt Lake City, Utah and Kapolei, Hawaii.

The settlements benefit not only the environment, but the communities that were directly affected by the pollutants,” said John Peter Suarez, EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “It goes a long way in leveling the playing field for all companies that are good neighbors in the places where they do business.”

Chevron also will pay a $3.5 million civil penalty and spend more than $4 million on further emissions controls and other environmental projects in communities around the company's refineries. Part of the penalty is to resolve claims for hazardous substance release reporting violations at its El Segundo, Calif., refinery. The states of Hawaii, Mississippi, and Utah and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District will share in the cash penalties and the benefits of the environmental projects to be performed by Chevron. U. S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan said, “Those of us who live in the Bay area place a premium on having a safe and healthy environment. Today's settlement with Chevron will make a difference in improving the air we breathe.”

This agreement is the latest in a series of multi-issue, multi-facility settlements reached by EPA under its Petroleum Refinery Initiative. Two weeks ago, EPA and the Justice Department announced Clean Air Act settlements with Coastal Eagle Point Oil Company, Ergon-West Virginia Inc. and Ergon Refining Inc., and CHS that will reduce refinery emissions by nearly 4,000 tons per year in five states. In the past three years, the United States has reached similar agreements with other major refiners, including Motiva Enterprises, Equilon and Deer Park Refining, Marathon Ashland Petroleum, Koch Petroleum Group, BP Exploration & Oil, Conoco, and Navajo 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 42 refineries across the United States that account for nearly 40 percent of domestic refining capacity.

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