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Oil refinery pays $1.6 million to resolve emissions violations

June 26th, 2019 by Dakota Software Staff

Oil refinery pays $1.6 million to resolve emissions violations

A Wyoming oil refining company agreed to pay $1.6 million in penalties related to violations of a previous emissions agreement struck more than a decade ago.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality jointly announced that the refinery company, owned by a Utah-based petroleum corporation, agreed to pay $1.6 million in penalties and install additional pollution controls to resolve violations of air emissions limits and monitoring requirements, including guidelines of a 2008 agreement. The settlement comes in addition to the approximately $20 million in pollution controls that the company has already paid to install in the refinery. This new agreement with federal and state regulators also requires the alleged violator to take additional measures to reduce harmful emissions of sulfur dioxide.

"EPA is committed to working with our partners to ensure that the terms and conditions of enforcement agreements are met," EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin said in a statement. "This settlement holds [the oil company] accountable for exceeding the emissions limits agreed to in a previous settlement for Clean Air Act violations and requires the company to implement additional pollution control measures to secure cleaner, healthier air for the people of Wyoming."

The refinery was cited for, among other violations, exceeding sulfur dioxide emissions limits.

The new consent decree amendment resolves alleged violations of state and federal air emissions limits and monitoring requirements that were established by a prior consent decree entered by the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming 11 years ago. The refinery's alleged violations include exceeding sulfur dioxide emissions limits at the flares and the sulfur recovery plant's tail gas units, as well as failing to operate mandatory continuous emissions monitors.

According to the EPA, the company has since installed a Central Amine Facility and upgraded its flare gas recovery system, reducing emissions and improving compliance with air emissions limits at the facility. The new agreement will require the company to also take several measures to reduce flaring and improve CEMS operations, and complete several projects that will make the flare gas recovery system operate more efficiently.

The consent decree's stipulated penalty provisions are also being modified to further incentivize the company to fully comply with the emission limits it sets forward.

"As principal steward for protecting Wyoming's air resources, the Wyoming DEQ's efforts, and coordination with EPA, have resulted in a consent decree amendment that resolves DEQ's allegations against [the company] and places [it] on a path to return its refinery to compliance with Wyoming's environmental laws and requirements," said DEQ Air Quality Administrator Nancy Vehr.

The settlement is still subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

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