- The Washington Times - Friday, December 21, 2001

The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday announced settlements with Conoco Inc., Navajo Refining Co. and Montana Refining Co. aimed at reducing harmful air emissions from seven petroleum refineries by more than 10,000 tons per year.

Louisiana, Oklahoma, Montana, Colorado and New Mexico joined the settlements, which were part of the EPA's national effort to reduce air emissions from refineries.

A consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Houston requires Conoco to spend up to $110 million to install the best available technology to control emissions from stacks, wastewater vents, leaking valves and flares throughout its refineries.

Another consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, N.M., requires Navajo and Montana Refining to spend up to $21 million to undertake similar projects.

The terms provided the companies with the operating and design flexibility to continue meeting demand for fuel and to increase production capacity, while significantly reducing harmful pollutants and ensuring continuing compliance with the Clean Air Act rules.

"These settlements are a victory for the environment and the public," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "They exemplify the U.S. government's commitment to protect our natural resources, to promote cleaner air and to ensure that companies are complying with environmental law."

The agreement with Conoco will affect refineries located in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado, Montana and New Mexico, which account for 3.5 percent of the nation's total refining capacity.

Conoco, based in Houston, will pay a $1.5 million civil penalty and spend $5 million on environmental projects in communities around the firm's refineries. Navajo and Montana Refining, subsidiaries of Holly Corp. in Dallas, will pay a $750,000 civil penalty and spend $1.5 million on environmental projects.

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