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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA, U.S. Department of Justice Settle with Kern Oil & Refining Co. for Violations at Bakersfield Refinery

12/10/2019
Contact Information: 
Denise Adamic (adamic.denise@epa.gov)
415-972-3061

BAKERSFIELD, Calif.— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with Kern Oil & Refining Co. that resolves alleged violations at its petroleum refinery in Bakersfield. Kern Oil will pay a $500,000 penalty to address the refinery’s failures to comply with flare emissions monitoring and leak inspection reporting requirements under the Clean Air Act and toxic chemical release reporting requirements under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Kern Oil will spend an additional $200,000 to comply with the requirements of the settlement.

“This settlement requires Kern Oil to comply with the Clean Air Act and reinforces the monitoring and reporting requirements,” said McGregor W. Scott, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is proud to work with EPA to protect the quality of the air in the Central Valley.”

“This settlement was achieved in partnership with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “The settlement will benefit communities near the Bakersfield refinery by ensuring that Kern Oil meets its flare monitoring and leak reporting obligations and supporting projects that provide for enhanced monitoring and new emergency response equipment for use by first responders.”

Petroleum refineries process crude oil into products such as gasoline and diesel fuel and emit pollutants from many different sources. This settlement addresses sulfur dioxide emissions from the refinery’s flare, as well as volatile organic compounds leaking from equipment such as valves, pumps, compressors, and wastewater drains. Kern Oil has already installed a required flare monitor and has begun submitting required monitoring and inspection reports.

Under EPCRA, facilities that manufacture, process, or use toxic chemicals over certain quantities are required to file annual reports estimating the amounts released to the environment, treated or recycled on-site, or transferred off-site for waste management. EPA compiles this information into a national database available to the public: www.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/tri-data-and-tools.

The consent decree for this settlement was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California by the U.S. Department of Justice and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. A copy of the decree will be available on the Department of Justice website at: www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.

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