BP subsidiary to pay record $40 million penalty for violating the Clean Air Act

May 19, 2023
The complaint alleges that BP Products North America’s Whiting Refinery in Indiana violated federal regulations by exceeding release levels of benzene, as well as other emissions.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have reached a settlement with BP Products North America Inc. (BPP). The complaint alleges that BPP’s Whiting Refinery in Indiana violated federal regulations by exceeding release levels of benzene, as well as other emissions. The agreement requires that the BP subsidiary reduce benzene by an estimated seven tons per year, other hazardous air pollutants (HAP) by 28 tons per year and other volatile organic compound emissions (VOC) by 372 tons per year.

According to the DOJ, BPP will spend more than $197 million to implement injunctive relief, as well as pay a $40 million penalty. BPP has also agreed to oversee a $5 million supplemental environmental project designed to reduce diesel emissions in the surrounding areas. In addition, BPP will install permanent benzene strippers to reduce benzene in wastewater streams, as well as 10 air pollutant monitoring stations.

In a recent quote, Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said, “This settlement sends an important message to the refining industry that the United States will take decisive action against illegal benzene and VOC emissions. Under the settlement, the refinery will implement controls that will greatly improve air quality and reduce health impacts on the overburdened communities that surround the facility.”

Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance added, “This settlement will result in the reduction of hundreds of tons of harmful air pollution a year, which means cleaner, healthier air for local communities, including communities with environmental justice concerns. This is one of several recent settlements that show that EPA and the Department of Justice are committed to improving air quality in local communities by holding industrial sources accountable for violations of emission standards under the Clean Air Act.”

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