Tesoro Corp. has agreed to settle Clean Air Act violation claims by the federal government. The settlement is worth as much as $425 million and includes funding emissions improvement projects at operations in California, Alaska, and elsewhere. The company will pay a $10.4 million civil penalty over the alleged Clean Air Act violations at some of its refineries, and put another $1 million toward natural gas-powered school buses in Northern California.
The emissions projects are located in Alaska, Northern California, North Dakota, Utah, Hawaii and Washington. The federal government, Alaska, Hawaii and the Northwest Clean Air Agency had accused Tesoro, two of its units and Par Hawaii Refining LLC of violating the Clean Air Act at six refineries. It was claimed they failed to prevent significant deterioration at the facilities. As part of the settlement, Tesoro agreed to implement certain emissions control projects.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement that the repairs and improvements at the refineries would reduce emissions by about 773 tons of sulfur dioxide, 407 tons of nitrogen oxides and 27 tons of hazardous air pollutants. Overall, the settlement will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from flaring at the six refineries by more than 60 percent, the government said.
Tesoro agreed as part of the settlement to install infrared gas-imaging cameras at four refineries to supplement the company’s leak detection programs to seek out emissions that might not otherwise show up on monitoring systems. Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden said in a statement:
This settlement, achieved in partnership with states, will benefit the air quality in communities across the Western United States. It uses cutting edge technology to address global environmental issues like climate change by controlling flaring and provides important reductions of harmful air pollution in communities facing environmental and health challenges.
The government is represented by Elizabeth L. Loeb and Susan Leslie Strawn. The case is United States of America et al. v. Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co. LLC et al., in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
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