BP pays $180m for clean air violations

The US Department of Justice has fined BP Products North America almost $180 million for violating EPA’s Clean Air Act regulations at its Texas City, Texas refinery.

BP agreed to the settlement and will spend more than $161m on pollution controls, enhanced maintenance and monitoring and improved management practices on its petroleum refining operations. EPA said these actions will reduce emissions of benzene and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by approximately 6,000 pounds annually.

BP will also have to eliminate 51,000 pounds of stratospheric ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)by retrofitting industrial and commercial cooling appliances at Texas City to use non-ozone-depleting refrigerants. The company agreed to improve its oversight and management of asbestos-containing wastes generated during routine renovation and demolition activities at the Texas City refinery.

The Texas City refinery, the third largest in the nation, has a production capacity of more than 460,000 barrels per day.

This is why benign molecules are important to develop in the first place (as according to John Warner of Warner Bobcock Institute for Green Chemistry). No need to spend millions of dollars retrofitting plants and paying fines in the future if the chemicals emitted in refineries are already safe to the atmosphere and to human health!

This is the same Texas refinery, by the way, that saw a catastrophic explosion and fire in March 2005 killing 15 people. The settlement does not address any claims arising from that explosion, according to DOJ.

BP will also pay $12m civil penalty and $6 million on a supplemental project (such as converting 100 diesel municipal vehicles, including school buses, to operate on compressed or liquefied natural gas, and constructing four refueling stations for the converted vehicles) to reduce air pollution in Texas City.

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