We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

News Releases from Region 05


Contact Information: 
Joshua Singer (singer.joshua@epa.gov)

(CHICAGO—June 9, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice today announced an agreement with Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Company that will reduce air pollution from the company’s refinery in Detroit and also from refineries in four other states.

Under the agreement, Marathon will spend approximately $6 million to shut down a flare at the fence line of its Detroit refinery on Schaefer Road by December 2018. Marathon will also install two new state-of-the-art systems that capture and recycle gases that would otherwise be sent to the Refinery’s flares at a cost of $36 million. Through this agreement, sulfur dioxide emissions from the Detroit Refinery will be reduced by 28 tons per year starting in July and then reduced by an additional 7 tons per year starting in 2019. Other pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxide, and greenhouse gases will also be reduced through the required upgrades.

“The Detroit area has one of the highest asthma rates in the nation,” said acting EPA Regional Administrator Robert Kaplan. “Today’s agreement is a step in the right direction to improve air quality in a neighborhood that has been overburdened by pollution.”

“This agreement continues the significant pollution reductions achieved under our earlier consent decree with Marathon in 2012,” said John C. Cruden, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  “All five communities near these refineries will breathe cleaner air as a result of this agreement and Detroit will see a reduction in flaring at the refinery’s fence line.”

“This agreement marks significant progress in environmental justice in southwest Detroit,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, of the Eastern District of Michigan.  “It shows that industry can thrive while protecting the environment.  By investing in technology, Marathon will improve air quality for all of our residents throughout southeastern Michigan.”

The settlement filed today in the U.S. District Court in Detroit amends a 2012 consent decree involving the company’s flares.  A flare is a mechanical device, ordinarily elevated high off the ground, used to combust waste gases.

By installing advanced pollution controls at its refineries, Marathon will help reduce emissions that can cause respiratory and cardiovascular health impacts, which can disproportionately affect low-income and vulnerable populations, including children.

Overall, this consent decree amendment impacts Marathon petroleum refineries in five states.  In addition to the $36 million in new flare gas recovery systems (FGRSs) that Marathon will spend at Detroit, Marathon will spend another $283 million for five other FGRSs at facilities in Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Ohio, for a total of $319 million.  Marathon will be required to operate all of its new FGRSs, including the two new ones at Detroit, at a higher percentage of time than EPA has ever secured in prior enforcement actions.  Marathon will also maintain two duplicates of a critical spare part to be delivered immediately to any of these refineries as necessary, to help make sure the FGRSs have minimal downtime.  Marathon will also spend $9.55 million for nitrogen oxide (NOx) control equipment at its Ohio and Louisiana refineries and pay a civil penalty of $326,500 to the United States.

When fully implemented, today’s agreement is expected to reduce harmful air pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sulfur dioxides (SO2) and NOx by approximately 1,037 tons per year.  Under the original Consent Decree in 2012, Marathon agreed to reduce air pollution from flares by generating less waste gas and by installing equipment designed to make flares burn more efficiently.  The 2012 settlement has reduced emissions of VOCs and SO2 by over 5,200 tons per year.

Under the settlement, some of Marathon’s obligations under the 2012 agreement to ensure high flare combustion efficiency will eventually be replaced by Marathon’s obligation to comply with a new, 2015 EPA rule on flare combustion efficiency.  At four refineries, compliance with an EPA flare standard related to SO2 will be extended for a limited period.  The projected temporary increase in pollution related to those extensions will be more than offset by simultaneous decreases that will continue indefinitely.

To learn more about the settlement and to read a copy of the consent decree, visit:


To learn more about EPA’s civil enforcement of the Clean Air Act, visit: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/air-enforcement 

To learn more about EPA’s refinery initiative, visit: