Chevron Phillips Chemical Firm LP has agreed to make upgrades and carry out compliance measures estimated to price $118 million to resolve allegations that it violated the Clear Air Act and state air air pollution management legal guidelines at three petrochemical manufacturing services positioned in Cedar Bayou, Port Arthur, and Sweeney, Texas. Chevron Phillips can even pay a $3.4 million civil penalty. The settlement will remove 1000’s of tons of air air pollution from flares.
In accordance with the grievance filed with a consent decree, the corporate didn’t correctly function and monitor its industrial flares, which resulted in extra emissions of dangerous air air pollution on the three Texas services. The corporate usually “oversteamed” the flares and didn’t adjust to different key working constraints to make sure the unstable natural compounds (VOCs) and unsafe air pollution (HAPs) contained within the gases routed to the flares are effectively combusted.
“The Justice Division and EPA will implement the legislation towards petrochemical crops that violate the Clear Air Act,” mentioned Assistant Lawyer Basic Todd Kim for the Justice Division’s Setting and Pure Sources Division. “We’re dedicated to decreasing dangerous air air pollution from pointless and improper flaring, particularly close to overburdened communities with environmental justice issues.”
“This settlement would require Chevron Phillips to put in air pollution management and emissions monitoring tools at three services in Texas, decreasing emissions of greenhouse gases and different dangerous gases by 1000’s of tons per 12 months,” mentioned Performing Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield for the EPA’s Workplace of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “These controls, plus a requirement for fence line monitoring of benzene emissions and corrective actions when benzene readings are excessive, will end in important advantages for the native communities in Texas.”
As soon as absolutely carried out, the air pollution controls are estimated to cut back emissions of climate-change-causing greenhouse gases, together with carbon dioxide, methane and ethane, by over 75,000 tons per 12 months. The settlement can be anticipated to cut back emissions of ozone-forming VOCs by 1,528 tons per 12 months and of poisonous air pollution, together with benzene, by 158 tons per 12 months.
The pollution addressed by the settlement may cause important hurt to public well being. VOCs are a key element within the formation of smog or ground-level ozone, a pollutant that irritates the lungs, exacerbates illnesses akin to bronchial asthma, and may enhance susceptibility to respiratory sicknesses, akin to pneumonia and bronchitis. Power publicity to benzene, which EPA classifies as a carcinogen, may cause quite a few well being impacts, together with leukemia and antagonistic reproductive results in girls.
Flares are additionally usually giant sources of greenhouse gasoline emissions. Flares are gadgets used to combust waste gases that will in any other case be launched into the ambiance throughout sure industrial operations. Nicely-operated flares ought to have excessive “combustion effectivity,” that means they combust practically all dangerous waste gasoline constituents, like VOCs and HAPs, and switch them into water and carbon dioxide. The settlement is designed to enhance Chevron Phillips’s flaring practices. First, it requires the corporate to reduce the quantity of waste gasoline that’s despatched to the flares, which reduces the quantity of flaring. Second, the corporate should enhance the combustion effectivity of its flares when flaring is critical.
Chevron Phillips will take a number of steps to reduce the waste gasoline despatched to its flares at every facility. On the Cedar Bayou facility, Chevron Phillips will function a flare gasoline restoration system that recovers and “recycles” the gases as a substitute of sending them to be combusted in a flare. The flare gasoline restoration system will enable Chevron Phillips to reuse these gases as a gasoline at its services or a product on the market. On the Port Arthur and Sweeny services, Chevron Phillips will likely be required to amend its air high quality permits to restrict the circulate of gasoline at chosen flares. Chevron Phillips can even create waste minimization plans for every facility to additional scale back flaring. For flaring that should happen, the settlement requires that Chevron Phillips set up and function devices and monitoring techniques to make sure that the gases despatched to its flares are effectively combusted.
Chevron Phillips can even carry out air high quality monitoring that’s designed to detect the presence of benzene on the fence strains of the three coated crops. Monitoring outcomes have to be publicly posted, offering the neighboring communities with extra details about their air high quality. The monitoring necessities additionally embrace triggers for root trigger evaluation and corrective actions if fence line emissions exceed sure thresholds. Flare compliance is an ongoing precedence for EPA beneath its Creating Clear Air for Communities Nationwide Compliance Initiative.
The consent decree, lodged within the Southern District Court docket of Texas, is topic to a 30-day public remark interval and ultimate courtroom approval. The consent decree will likely be accessible for viewing at https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.