UpdateSettlement consistent with environmental efforts: ExxonMobil

26 August 2013 21:41  [Source: ICIS news]

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HOUSTON (ICIS)--ExxonMobil is continuously working to improve environmental and safety performance at its facilities, the US-based energy giant said on Monday, following its agreement to a $2.329m (€1.747m) settlement to resolve violations at four of its sites in Louisiana.

The alleged violations occurred between 2008 and 2013 at ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge Refinery and three other facilities in the Baton Rouge area, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) announced on Monday.

The agency also fined the company nearly $62,000 for violations related to a steam-cracked naphtha release on 14 June 2012 at its Baton Rouge Complex, the LDEQ said.

“This comprehensive settlement is consistent with ExxonMobil’s ongoing improvement efforts and investment strategies and is expected to further improve our environmental performance,” ExxonMobil said.

Under the proposed settlement, ExxonMobil must pay over $1m to support the LDEQ’s Beneficial Environmental Projects. Additionally, the company must spend at least $1m to implement spill prevention control and countermeasures, as well as make improvements at its Baton Rouge Complex.

“I believe the environmental projects proposed by ExxonMobil as part of this settlement will provide long-lasting environmental benefits for citizens residing and working in and around the Greater Baton Rouge area,” said LDEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch.

Some of the onsite projects include reducing ExxonMobil’s groundwater use in processes by 1m gal/day by 2014, providing funds for LDEQ monitoring and to improving ozone modelling, as well as upgrading the company’s meteorological station to improve greenhouse gas monitoring. ExxonMobil said.

In addition, the company will make donations to local nonprofit organisations and projects that would enhance the environment of neighbourhoods near its operations.

The proposed settlement with the LDEQ also includes stipulated penalty language to address future violations at the four facilities.

“This agreement will help us resolve future incidents in a more efficient, transparent, and objective manner,” ExxonMobil said. “The agreement to standardise how we determine future penalty payments is called a stipulated penalty. The proposed stipulated penalty structure establishes set fines per emissions event consistent with LDEQ’s regulatory goals.”

The company added that the structure will help ensure protection of the environment and human health, establish a more objective and efficient penalty calculation methodology, as well as expedite corrective actions and penalty settlements.

The proposed settlement is subject to approval by the Louisiana attorney general’s office before it can be finalised, the LDEQ said.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Tracy Dang
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