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U.S. Announces Clean Air Agreement with Largest Domestic Petroleum Refiner : ConocoPhillips to Reduce Air Emissions at Facilities in Seven States

Release Date: 01/27/2005
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Contact: Stacie Findon 202-564-7338 /

(Washington, D.C.-- 01/27/05) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Justice Department today announced a comprehensive Clean Air Act settlement with ConocoPhillips that is expected to reduce harmful air emissions by more than 47,000 tons per year from nine U.S. petroleum refineries in seven states that represent nearly 10 percent of total refining capacity in the United States.

"This agreement represents another major milestone in the effort to reduce pollution from our nation's petroleum refineries," said Thomas V. Skinner, EPA acting assistant administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Over 50 percent of domestic refining capacity is covered by settlements to date under EPA's Petroleum Refinery Initiative. These settlements, when fully implemented, will reduce emissions of air pollutants by approximately 240,000 tons per year at 57 refineries in 26 states."

The states of Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as the Northwest Clean Air Agency (Washington State) are joining the settlement. The agreement with the nations largest petroleum refining company is part of EPA's national effort to reduce air emissions from refineries.

A consent decree, filed today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District in Texas, will require ConocoPhillips to spend more than $525 million to install and implement innovative control technologies to reduce emissions at its refineries. ConocoPhillips actions under this agreement are expected to reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) by more than 10,000 tons and sulfur dioxide (SO2) by more than 37,100 tons per year. Emissions of particulate matter are expected to be significantly reduced. The air pollutants addressed by today's agreements can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma.

To meet obligations under EPA's New Source Review program, ConocoPhillips will cut emissions significantly from its largest emitting units through the use of innovative technologies. Under the negotiated settlement, ConocoPhillips will upgrade its leak detection and repair practices, implement programs to minimize flaring of hazardous gases, reduce emissions from its sulfur recovery plants and adopt strategies to ensure the proper handling of hazardous benzene wastes at each refinery. The affected ConocoPhillips refineries are located in Belle Chasse, La.; Linden, N.J.; Borger and Sweeny, Texas; Carson and Wilmington, Calif.; Ferndale, Wash.; Rodeo and Santa Maria, Calif.; Trainer, Pa.; and Roxanna and Hartford, Ill.

ConocoPhillips will pay a $4.5 million civil penalty and spend more than $10 million on supplemental environmental projects to reduce emissions further and to support activities in the communities where it operates. The states joining the settlement will share in the cash penalties and supplemental projects to be performed by ConocoPhillips.

This is the 13th in a series of multi-issue, multi-facility settlements reached by EPA under its Petroleum Refinery Initiative. Over the past four years, the United States has reached similar agreements with: Motiva Enterprises; Equilon (Shell) and Shell Deer Park Refining; Marathon Ashland Petroleum; Koch Petroleum Group; BP Exploration & Oil; Conoco; Costal Eagle Point Oil Company; CHS Inc. (Cenex); Navajo Refining Co. and CITGO. These settlements provide for a comprehensive, cooperative approach to addressing environmental problems across the industry.

The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period.

For more information on EPA's Petroleum Refinery Initiative, go to: .