Economy

ExxonMobil To Spend $300 Mln To Install And Operate Air Pollution Control

Exxon Mobil will have to install the anti-pollution equipment at five of its petrochemical facilities in Texas, near Baytown, Beaumont and Mont Belvieu, and three others in Baton Rouge, La.

"This settlement will improve air quality in Texas and Louisiana by eliminating thousands of tons of harmful air pollution each year", said acting assistant attorney general Jeffrey Wood of the Justice Department's environment and natural resources division.

The deal with the USA and Louisiana settles allegations that Exxon violated the federal Clean Air Act by releasing excess harmful pollution after modifying flaring systems at five plants in Texas and three in Louisiana.

Federal and state regulators including the U.S. Department of Justice and Louisiana Department of Environmental Equality said that the improved pollution controls will reduce airborne emissions of volatile organic compounds by more than 7,000 tons per year and other toxic pollutants such as benzene by more than 1,500 tons annually.

The Justice Department and the state of Colorado announced a smaller settlement over pollution charges against Denver-based PDC Energy Inc.

ExxonMobil also will pay a $2.5 million civil penalty.

"This settlement means cleaner air for communities across Texas and Louisiana, and reinforces EPA's commitment to enforce the law and hold those who violate it accountable", EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement.

Exxon did not directly address climate change criticism, but the company said it "complies with environmental laws, regulations and permits". "Now they can continue their work of driving economic growth", he said. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge David Hittner had said evidence showed that the Texas oil company's emissions from 2005 to 2013 put it in violation of the Clean Air Act 16,386 times.

"The fossil-fueled Trump administration letting Exxon Mobil off the hook with a slap of the wrist", said Lindsay Meiman of 350.org, an environmental group that emphasizes lower emissions of greenhouse gases.

Those repairs are estimated to cost Exxon about $300 million and could take a couple of years to implement.

Exxon Mobil will settle air pollution cases with the federal government and the State of Louisiana.

According to the EPA, the agreement requires Exxon to minimize the amount of waste gas that is sent to the flares, and improve the combustion efficiency of its flares. He said the $300 million investment would increase flare efficiency at the petrochemical plants, among the biggest in the world.



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