A BP subsidiary will pay a record-setting $40 million penalty to settle US civil charges that the Indiana-based oil refinery violated federal laws aimed at curbing emissions of cancer-causing benzene in wastewater. and other harmful pollutants, the US Justice Department said on Wednesday.
The settlement between BP Products North America Inc., the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency will also require the company to invest approximately $197 million in new technology and other capital improvements to reduce air pollution.
Those improvements are expected to reduce benzene by an estimated seven tons per year, other hazardous air pollutants (HAP) by 28 tons per year, and volatile organic compound emissions (VOC) by 372 tons per year. year at its Whiting Refinery in Indiana, the Justice. Department said.
AA BP spokesman had no immediate comment on the settlement.
“This settlement sends an important message to the refining industry that the United States will take decisive action against illegal benzene and VOC emissions,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Department. Resources Division in a statement.
“Under the settlement, the refinery will implement controls that will significantly improve air quality and reduce health impacts in the burdened communities surrounding the facility.”
BP Plc’s 435,000 barrel-per-day Whiting, Indiana, refinery is the sixth largest in capacity in the United States and the largest company in the country, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Nine US Gulf Coast refineries exceeded federal regulatory action levels between 2018 and 2020 for pollution from benzene, which causes cancer, according to an Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) study released last May last year.
Nine were among 56 U.S. refineries with elevated benzene levels, the study said. Sixty-four percent of the 56 refineries are located in the Gulf Coast states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
The EPA has previously discovered benzene problems in Whiting’s wastewater from 2003-2008. The BP refinery near Lake Michigan emits nearly 16 times the legal limit of benzene allowed by the Clean Air Act, the EPA said in 2009.
After the EPA investigation, BP spent about $4 billion to expand the Whiting refinery for processing heavy crude oil in Canada. The expansion and upgrade project drew opposition in the Chicago area because of the increased pollution levels that would result.
The latest terms of the settlement, filed in a proposed consent decree in the US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, will require approval from a federal judge.
The company also agreed to undertake a $5 million supplemental environmental project to reduce diesel emissions in the communities surrounding the Whiting Refinery and install 10 air pollutant monitoring stations.
In February BP reported a record profit of $28 billion for 2022 and raised its dividend, and reiterated plans to cut oil and gas production and reduce carbon emissions by 2030.
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