June 7, 2023

A BP subsidiary pays a $40 million penalty and set up know-how to regulate releases of benzene and different contaminants at its Whiting oil refinery on the Indiana shoreline of Lake Michigan, Biden administration officers mentioned Wednesday.

The actions will settle a civil case towards BP Merchandise North America Inc. filed by the U.S. Division of Justice and the Environmental Safety Company, which described the penalty as the biggest ever underneath the Clear Air Act for air pollution from a construction. Moreover, the corporate will make investments round $197 million in enhancements.

“This settlement will consequence within the discount of a whole bunch of tons of dangerous air air pollution a 12 months, which suggests cleaner, more healthy air for native communities,” mentioned Larry Starfield, performing assistant administrator of EPA’s Workplace of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

The 134-year-old refinery, situated between Hammond, Indiana, and Chicago, is the largest within the U.S. Midwest and sixth largest nationally. It processes about 440,000 barrels of crude oil day by day, making a wide range of liquid fuels and asphalt.

It has a report of air pollution rule violations, reaching settlements in 2019 and 2022 over releases of sooty “particulate matter” linked to bronchial asthma and different respiratory ailments.

A brand new federal grievance accused the BP unit of breaking guidelines limiting benzene in refinery wastewater streams and emissions of hazardous and risky air contaminants.

Below the settlement, the corporate will add benzene stripping tools and take different steps meant to cut back yearly reductions of cancer-causing benzene together with a whole bunch of tons of different pollution.

BP additionally will arrange 10 stations to watch air high quality outdoors the refinery property.

The management measures “will enormously enhance air high quality and cut back well being impacts on the overburdened communities that encompass the power,” mentioned Todd Kim, assistant lawyer common within the Division of Justice Setting and Pure Sources Division.

The settlement requires court docket approval after a public remark interval.

“With this new settlement, we’re committing to extra, strong steps — together with important capital investments — to watch and mitigate wastewater emissions at Whiting Refinery,” BP spokesperson Christina Audisho mentioned in a press release.

The enhancements might be made “over the following a number of years,” Audisho mentioned.

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