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U.S. Announces Clean Air Agreement with Lion Oil -- Petroleum Refiner To Significantly Reduce Harmful Air Emissions

Release Date: 03/11/2003
Contact Information:


UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, MARCH 11, 2003
WWW.USDOJ.GOV
ENRD (202) 514-2007
EPA (202) 564-7873



WASHINGTON, D.C. (03/11/03)- The U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency today announced a comprehensive Clean Air Act settlement with Lion Oil Company to reduce harmful air emissions from the company’s El Dorado, Ark., refinery by 1,380 tons per year. The State of Arkansas is joining in the settlement.

The agreement will address air pollutants—nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulate emissions—that can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma, as well as carbon monoxide, which can be harmful to the cardiovascular system.

The settlement calls for Lion Oil to spend more than $21.5 million to install state-of-the-art pollution control technology to significantly reduce emissions from a catalytic cracking unit (its largest emissions unit), heaters, boilers, wastewater vents, flares, and leaking valves throughout its refinery. With this settlement, the company will continue its operations and continue meeting the public's demand for fuel and increased production capacity. Lion Oil also will pay a $348,000 civil penalty, which the State of Arkansas will share, and spend more than $450,000 on supplemental environmental projects designed to reduce emissions from the refinery.

"This settlement is a win for cleaner air, the public, and other members of the oil refining industry who have already settled with the government," said Assistant Attorney General Thomas L. Sansonetti. "It illustrates our commitment to level the corporate playing field by assuring that those members of the refining industry who voluntarily agreed to install improved controls and meet stringent compliance standards will not suffer a competitive disadvantage. We expect other companies to follow suit."

"This settlement signals our resolve to ensure that petroleum refineries across this nation comply with the Clean Air Act,” said John Peter Suarez, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “We are continuing to make significant strides with our state partners to address air pollution problems across the refining industry. The environment and public health will benefit greatly from this agreement.”

Under the settlement, Lion Oil will cut air emissions by using innovative control technologies, incorporating improved leak detection and repair practices, and making other emission control upgrades at the El Dorado refinery. Currently the refinery has a processing capacity of more than 58,000 barrels of oil per day. These improvements will reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) by approximately 530 tons, sulfur dioxide (SO2) by approximately 650 tons, particulate matter (PM) by approximately 200 tons, and significantly reduce carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from process units at the El Dorado refinery.

"This settlement will result in substantially reduced air pollution from the El Dorado refinery and deter other companies from violating the Clean Air Act in the State of Arkansas," said Tom Gean, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.

This settlement is the latest global agreement reached under this Administration’s efforts to assure the petroleum refining industry’s compliance with major provisions of the Clean Air Act. During the past few years, petroleum refiners, like Lion Oil, have voluntarily entered into global discussions with the United States. Those companies include Koch Petroleum, BP Exploration and Oil, Motiva Enterprises, Equilon Enterprises LLC, Deer Park Refining Limited Partnership, Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, Conoco, and Navajo Refining. Together these settlements provide for a comprehensive and cooperative approach to addressing environmental problems across the industry.

The settlement will be lodged with the U.S. District Court in Fort Smith, Ark., for 30 days to allow for public comment.