BP Products North America (BPP), a unit of bp, has agreed to pay $40m in penalties to settle charges that its Whiting Refinery in Indiana violated air pollution norms.
In a statement, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged that BPP violated federal norms restricting benzene in refinery wastewater streams.
The UK-based energy giant’s subsidiary is also said to have violated hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions norms at its refinery.
According to the settlement reached between the DOJ, the Environmental Protection Agency and BPP, the company will have to invest more than $197m to reduce pollution at its facility.
It is the largest civil penalty ever secured for a Clean Air Act stationary source settlement, the DOJ said.
BPP is expected to reduce benzene emission by an estimated seven tonnes (t) per year, other HAPs by 28t per year and other VOCs by 372t annually.
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DOJ Assistant Attorney General of Environment and Natural Resources Division Todd Kim said: “This settlement sends an important message to the refining industry that the US will take decisive action against illegal benzene and VOC emissions.
“Under the settlement, the refinery will implement controls that will greatly improve air quality and reduce health impacts on the overburdened communities that surround the facility.”
According to Reuters, bp said that the agreed capital investments will be closely coordinated with state and federal regulators in the coming years.
“As we move forward, our commitment to safe, compliant and reliable operations remains unwavering at Whiting and everywhere we operate,” a spokesperson was quoted by the news agency as saying.
bp’s refinery in Indiana, with a capacity of 435,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, is the largest in the US for the company, and the sixth-largest overall, based on the data from the US Energy Information Administration.