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UNITED STATES AND STATE OF ILLINOIS SETTLE CASE WITH PREMCOR REFINING GROUP, INC.

Release Date: 04/01/2002
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UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY APRIL 1, 2002
www.usdoj.gov
www.epa.gov
DOJ (202) 514-2007
EPA (202) 564-7818

UNITED STATES AND STATE OF ILLINOIS SETTLE CASE
WITH PREMCOR REFINING GROUP, INC.
Premcor to pay $6.25 million for violating five federal environmental statutes


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the state of Illinois announced today a settlement requiring the owner of a large petroleum refinery, Premcor Refining Group, Inc., to pay $6.25 million for violations of several environmental laws.

Premcor Refining Group, Inc., formerly known as Clark Refining and Marketing, Inc., will pay the penalty to resolve claims that its Blue Island Refinery in Blue Island, Ill. violated five federal statutes: the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and the Emergency Planning, Community Right-To-Know Act and state of Illinois environmental laws and regulations. Premcor closed the refinery in January 2001.

The claims were originally made in a 1998 complaint that was part of the Justice Department’s Mississippi River Initiative, a comprehensive federal effort to keep illegal pollution – ranging from raw sewage to industrial waste – out of the river and to restore the river and surrounding communities to its historic grandeur. The water-related violations alleged against Premcor’s Blue Island Refinery include illegal discharges into the Cal-Sag Canal West of Chicago. The Canal’s waters eventually flow into the Mississippi River. Other alleged violations of the Clean Water Act include discharges of illegal levels of pollutants to the local, publicly owned wastewater treatment plant. The United States also alleged that the refinery violated Clean Air Act emission limits for sulfur dioxide, a precursor of acid rain.

“This settlement represents the Department of Justice’s commitment to following through on its duty to enforce our nation’s environmental laws,” said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Where appropriate, stiff civil penalties for environmental violations are an important reflection of that commitment."

“This agreement in partnership with the State of Illinois continues our shared federal-state message that environmental compliance at petroleum refineries around the country must improve,” said Sylvia K. Lowrance, Acting Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

"This consent order demonstrates the benefits obtainable by a cooperative State-Federal lawsuit to enforce our environmental laws and protect the people and environment of the State of Illinois," said Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan.

The Blue Island Refinery was in operation, under various owners, from the 1920s to January 2001. Prior to its closure, the refinery processed approximately 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Principal end products included gasoline, liquid petroleum gas, jet fuel, diesel fuel, heating fuel and asphalt.

A consent decree was filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.

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