BPNA settles environmental charges at Whiting, Ind., refinery

BP North America Inc. (BPNA) agreed to pay an $8 million fine and spend more than $400 million to install state-of-the-art air pollution controls at its Whiting, Ind., refinery to settle charges that it violated the Clean Air Act, the US Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency jointly announced.

They said the May 23 settlement will lead to installation of innovative pollution controls at the refinery, including extensive new controls on the plant’s flaring devices. BPNA agreed to limit the amount of waste gas sent to the devices in the first place, and implement innovative, cutting-edge controls to ensure proper combustion efficiency for any gases which are burned there, DOJ and EPA said.

EPA added that the requirements, similar to those included in a recent settlement with Marathon Petroleum Corp., are part of its national effort to reduce emissions from flares at refineries and petrochemical plants.

DOJ said in addition to the controls on the refinery’s flares, this settlement will also result in reduced emissions by imposing some of the lowest emission limits in refinery settlements to date, enhancing controls on wastewater containing benzene, and providing for an enhanced leak detection and repair program. The settlement also requires BPNA to spend $9.5 million on projects at the refinery to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it added.

BPNA agreed to perform a supplemental environmental project in which it will install, operate, and maintain a $2 million fence line emission monitoring system at the Whiting refinery, and make the data collected publicly available by posting the information on a web site. Fence line monitors will continuously monitor benzene, toluene, pentane, hexane, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and all compounds containing reduced sulfur, according to DOJ and EPA.

Joining in this settlement were the state of Indiana, the Sierra Club, Save the Dunes, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Environmental Integrity Project, Susan Eleuterio, and Tom Tsourlis, DOJ said. The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval, DOJ added.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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