BP North America will pay an $8 million penalty and invest more than $400 million to install pollution controls and cut emissions from BP’s petroleum refinery in Whiting, Indiana because of air pollution violations under the Clean Air Act.
The federal government complaint said that CAA requirements were ignored at the Whiting refinery when it was expanded. There were also violations of a 2001 consent decree with BP that covered all of BP’s refineries that was part of EPA’s Petroleum Refinery Initiative.
“In this case, BP North America has not lived up to all of its obligations under an earlier settlement agreement and has committed new violations of the Clean Air Act at its Whiting refinery in Indiana,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.
Today’s settlement will lead to the installation of pollution controls on the largest sources of emissions at the Whiting refinery, including new controls on the refinery’s flaring devices, which are used to burn-off waste gases. The larger the amount of waste gases sent to flare and the less efficient the flare is when burning those gases, the more air pollution occurs.
Under the settlement, BP will install new equipment that will limit the amount of waste gas flared, as well as implement new controls to ensure proper combustion efficiency for any gases that are burned. Whiting predates the automobile and is the sixth largest refinery in the U.S.
The requirements, similar to those included in a recent settlement with Marathon Petroleum Corp., are part of EPA’s national effort to reduce emissions from flaring at refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants.
BP will undertake a supplemental environmental project to install, operate and maintain a $2 million fence line emission monitoring system at the Whiting refinery. BP will make the data collected available to the public by posting the information on a website. Fence line monitors will continuously measure benzene, toluene, pentane, hexane, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and all compounds containing reduced sulfur.
When fully implemented, the agreement is predicted to reduce harmful air pollution that can cause respiratory problems such as asthma and are significant contributors to acid rain, smog and haze, by more than 4,000 tons per year.