EPA requires cleaner refineries

The Associated Press
Saturday May 12, 2001

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency settled a case Friday in a Detroit federal court requiring seven petroleum refineries to reduce smokestack pollutants by more than 23,000 tons per year. 

Under the settlement, Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, of Findlay, Ohio, must spend an estimated $265 million to install pollution control equipment aimed at reducing emissions from smokestacks, wastewater vents, leaky valves and flares at its refineries which account for more than 5 percent of the total refining capacity in the United States. 

Those refineries are located in Robinson, Ill.; Garyville, La.; Texas City, Texas; Catlettsburg, Ky.; Detroit; Canton, Ohio; and St. Paul Park, Minn. 

The new equipment is intended to help ease respiratory problems like childhood asthma by cutting pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate emissions, carbon monoxide, benzene and volatile organic compounds. 

Two states, Louisiana and Minnesota, and Wayne County, Mich., joined the consent decree filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit and announced by the EPA and the Justice Department. 

Marathon Ashland also will pay a $3.8 million civil penalty under the Clean Air Act and spend about $6.5 million for environmental projects in communities near the refineries. Minnesota and Louisiana each will receive $50,000 of the penalty under the agreement. 

Attorney General John Ashcroft called it “a victory for the environment.” 

The case is part of EPA’s national effort to reduce harmful air pollution released from refineries, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman said. 

In March, the government reached similar agreements with Motiva Enterprises, Equilon Enterprises, and Deer Park Refining Limited Partnership, which will reduce air pollution at nine refineries across the nation. 

“The settlement also is expected to facilitate efficiency upgrades and increased production of gasoline over the next eight years,” Whitman said. 

Also Friday, the EPA and Justice Department announced it had reached a separate settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Benton, Ill., requiring Marathon Ashland to reduce benzene emissions at its refinery in Robinson, Ill. 


Marathon Ashland will pay a $1.67 million civil penalty under the Clean Air Act and spend another $125,000 on an emergency response project there. 


On the Net: 

EPA air quality site: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/uatw