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EPA settles air pollution violations with Texas refinery

March 25, 2014
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<photocredit>Daniel Loiselle/iStockphoto/Thinkstock</photocredit>

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice have reached an agreement with a Port Arthur refinery to settle violations of the federal Clean Air Act.

Texas company Flint Hills Resources, which operates the refinery, will pay a $350,000 fine and invest in equipment that will control air pollution by recovering and recycling waste gases and reduce harmful emissions from flares and leaks by 98 percent, a statement released by the EPA said. The company has already spent about $16 million to meet the criteria for industrial flares control.

The federal agency estimated that once Flint Hills Resources complies with all the terms of the settlement, emissions of volatile organic compounds will be reduced by approximately 1,880 tons per year. Moreover, emissions of greenhouse gases will be cut by an estimated 69,000 tons annually.

RELATED: New York state coke plant ordered to pay $12.5 million for air pollution

Under the terms of the agreement, the company has to ensure frequent monitoring of leaks and will have to adopt more aggressive repair practices, as well as a more efficient approach to leak prevention. All valves at the refinery will have to be replaced with new ones designed to reduce leaks, the statement said. An additional $2 million will be invested in a diesel retrofit or replacement project, expected to cut nitrogen oxides and particulate matter by 85 tons and carbon monoxide by 39 tons over the next 15 years.

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