U.S. refiner settles Clean Air Act issue

Jan. 27, 2011 at 9:36 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The second-largest petroleum refinery in the United States agreed to pay millions of dollars in damages for Clean Air Act violations, U.S. regulators said.

Hovensa LLC, which owns the second-largest petroleum refinery in the United States, agreed to pay $5.3 million in civil penalties and invest more than $700 million in pollution control equipment to settle Clean Air Act violations at its facility in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S Justice Department announced.

"This is another major step in our efforts, alongside EPA, to bring the petroleum refining sector into compliance with our nation's environmental laws," Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general for the environment and natural resources division of the Department of Justice, said in a statement.

The federal complaint accused Hovensa of making modifications to its refinery that led to increased emissions without getting the approval from the government as required by the Clean Air Act.

The investments made by Hovensa under the deal will result in the removal of more than 8,000 tons of harmful chemicals that lead to acid rain and smog.

The settlement is the 105th for the EPA, which the regulatory agency said indicates that more than 90 percent of the refining capacity in the United States is under agreements with the government to reduce their emissions.

The St. Croix facility is one of the largest in the world, refining more than 525,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

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