EPA fines New Mexico refiner for violating consent order

The US Environmental Protection Agency fined Western Refining Southwest Inc. for violating an August 2009 consent agreement and final order.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 30 -- The US Environmental Protection Agency fined Western Refining Southwest Inc. (WRS) for violating an August 2009 consent agreement and final order. EPA said the refiner failed to adequate monitor benzene discharges and illegally disposed of hazardous waste at its 16,800-b/d plant 17 miles east of Gallup, NM.

WRS is part of Western Refining Inc. in El Paso, which operates a 125,000-b/d plant there and owns a small refinery in Yorktown, Va., which it shut down during this year’s third quarter.

EPA’s Region 6 office in Dallas said on Nov. 23 that it sent the company two noncompliance notices in the past 2 months after the federal environmental regulator and New Mexico’s Environmental Department brought the violations to WRS’s attention in 2009.

WRS agreed to pay $734,008, cease all benzene discharges, and close two aeration lagoons that received hazardous waste, according to EPA. The company has 30 days to pay levied fines after receiving notification letters, it said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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