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Enforcement

HollyFrontier Inc. Settlement Information Sheet

WASHINGTON (May 28, 2020) — EPA and the state of Kansas have announced a settlement with HollyFrontier El Dorado Refining LLC. (HollyFrontier), to address alleged Clean Air Act violations resulting from exceedances of emission limits and failure to comply with chemical accident prevention statutory and regulatory safety requirements at its El Dorado, Kansas refinery. Under the terms of the agreement, HollyFrontier agreed to pay a $4 million civil penalty and make improvements to the refinery that will greatly reduce harmful air emissions of sulfur dioxide and particulate matter; two pollutants which can cause serious respiratory problems, as well as improve its risk management practices.

Overview of Company

HollyFrontier El Dorado Refining LLC (HollyFrontier) in El Dorado, Kansas, operates as a subsidiary of HollyFrontier Corporation. HollyFrontier Corporation, through its subsidiaries, operates five refineries with approximately 457,000 barrels per day of crude oil processing capacity.

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Violations

HollyFrontier repeatedly violated regulations prohibiting visible smoke emissions from the refinery’s main flare, resulting in releases of potentially harmful particulate matter. In addition, the company on several instances exceeded regulatory limits for hydrogen sulfide in fuel gas, failed to monitor for hydrogen sulfide, and failed to minimize emissions using good air pollution control practices, all of which resulted in harmful releases of sulfur dioxide. HollyFrontier also failed to design and maintain a safe facility, and failed to comply with chemical accident prevention regulations, including failure to inspect and test equipment and correct deficiencies in equipment. These prevention failures led to a September 2017 catastrophic release of naptha, a flammable hydrocarbon mixture, which resulted in a fire and the subsequent death of one employee.

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Injunctive Relief

The proposed consent decree requires the installation of air pollution controls and upgrades at the refinery to reduce smoke from the flare, thereby reducing sulfur dioxide and particulate matter emissions. In addition, the company agreed to conduct audits of its risk management practices at the refinery and to perform corrective actions based on the audit results.

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Pollutant Impacts

When fully implemented, EPA estimates that the new controls and requirements would result in emission reductions of approximately 7.5 tons per year of PM emissions and 2.1 tons per year of SO2 emissions.

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Civil Penalty

HollyFrontier will pay a civil penalty of $4,000,000 to the United States.

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Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District Court of Kansas, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comment is available  at the Department of Justice website.

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Contact Information

Julie Murray
USEPA REGION 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, KS 66219
913-551-7448
murray.julie@epa.gov

Bill Peterson
USEPA REGION 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, KS 66219
913-551-7881
peterson.bill@epa.gov

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