Valero resolves CWA violations following 2006 oil spill

Valero Refining Texas has agreed to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act stemming from a June 1, 2006, spill of 3,400 bbl of oil into the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, June 12 -- Valero Refining Texas LP has agreed to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act stemming from a June 1, 2006, spill of 3,400 bbl of oil into the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, which flows from Tule Lake into Corpus Christi Bay and on into the Gulf of Mexico.

Under the consent decree lodged in federal court in Corpus Christi, Valero will pay a $1.65 million civil penalty and perform a supplemental environmental project that will cost $300,000. Under the agreement, the project will require Valero to design and construct a boat ramp that will aid emergency-response efforts in the vicinity of the oil spill.

The government's complaint, filed along with the consent decree, alleges that at least 142,800 gal of oil spilled from a containment berm on the edge of the Ship Channel at Valero's Corpus Christi Refinery-West Plant into the channel. Valero has since removed the containment berm and the associated above-ground storage tank from the edge of the Ship Channel in order to prevent future oil discharges.

The penalty paid for the spills will be deposited in the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is used to pay for the federal cleanups of oil spills.

The CWA makes it unlawful for owners, operators, or any person in charge of onshore facilities to discharge oil or any hazardous substance into or upon the navigable waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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