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Clean Air Act Violations Lead to Fines, $300M in Improvements Spending for ExxonMobil

Violations of the federal Clean Air Act can lead to hefty fines, and even heftier spending on improvement plans, as ExxonMobil was reminded last week: The company settled with the Department of Justice, the EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for a civil fine of $2.5m and an agreement to spend approximately $300m on air pollution improvements.

Clean Air Act Violations Lead to Fines, $300M in Improvements Spending for ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil agreed to install and operate air pollution control and monitoring technology to reduce harmful air pollution from eight of its petrochemical manufacturing facilities in Texas and Louisiana. The settlement resolves allegations that ExxonMobil violated the Clean Air Act by failing to properly operate and monitor industrial flares at their petrochemical facilities, which resulted in excess emissions of harmful air pollution.

Once fully implemented, the pollution controls required by the settlement are estimated to reduce harmful air emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by more than 7,000 tons per year. The settlement is also expected to reduce toxic air pollutants, including benzene, by more than 1,500 tons per year, the EPA says.

In order to minimize the waste gas sent to the flares, Exxon will create waste minimization plans for each facility. At four of the facilities, Exxon will operate flare gas recovery systems which minimize the amount of waste gas sent to the flares by recovering and recycling the gases before they are sent for combustion in a flare. The flare gas recovery systems will allow ExxonMobil to reuse these gases as a fuel at its facilities or a product for sale. In order to improve combustion efficiency, ExxonMobil must also install and operate instruments and monitoring systems to ensure that gases that are sent to flares are efficiently combusted. ExxonMobil will also perform air quality monitoring that is designed to detect the presence of benzene at the fence lines of four of the covered plants.

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ExxonMobil agreed to install and operate air pollution control and monitoring technology to reduce harmful air pollution from eight of its petrochemical manufacturing facilities in Texas and Louisiana. The settlement resolves allegations that ExxonMobil violated the Clean Air Act by failing to properly operate and monitor industrial flares at their petrochemical facilities, which resulted in excess emissions of harmful air pollution.

Once fully implemented, the pollution controls required by the settlement are estimated to reduce harmful air emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by more than 7,000 tons per year. The settlement is also expected to reduce toxic air pollutants, including benzene, by more than 1,500 tons per year, the EPA says.

In order to minimize the waste gas sent to the flares, Exxon will create waste minimization plans for each facility. At four of the facilities, Exxon will operate flare gas recovery systems which minimize the amount of waste gas sent to the flares by recovering and recycling the gases before they are sent for combustion in a flare. The flare gas recovery systems will allow ExxonMobil to reuse these gases as a fuel at its facilities or a product for sale. In order to improve combustion efficiency, ExxonMobil must also install and operate instruments and monitoring systems to ensure that gases that are sent to flares are efficiently combusted. ExxonMobil will also perform air quality monitoring that is designed to detect the presence of benzene at the fence lines of four of the covered plants.

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Clean Air Act Violations Lead to Fines, $300M in Improvements Spending for ExxonMobil