The Justice Department, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Illinois have announced an amendment to the 2005 Clean Air Act (CAA) consent decree signed with ExxonMobil Oil Corporation to resolve violations at its petroleum refinery in Joliet.
“This new agreement requires ExxonMobil to clean up its act and pay penalties for its past violations,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jean E. Williams of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). “EPA and our Illinois state partner deserve credit for policing ExxonMobil’s compliance with the Clean Air Act and our prior settlement with the company.”
“I’m pleased that the agreement announced today with ExxonMobil will reduce air emissions from their Joliet refinery,” said Acting Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Larry Starfield of the EPA. “The result will be cleaner air for communities in Illinois and lower environmental impacts.”
The consent decree amendment will reduce air pollution through upgrades and improvements and address violations of the 2005 consent decree and the CAA. ExxonMobil will make physical and operational changes to its sulfur recovery plant that will reduce emissions of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide and will meet a lower sulfur dioxide emission limit at its north sulfur recovery unit. ExxonMobil will also make physical and operational changes to the emission controls for its fluidized catalytic cracking unit, also referred to as the FCCU, and it will meet lower emission limits for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides at the FCCU.
To address leak detection and repair violations, ExxonMobil will update its program to include procedures for properly monitoring valves that are covered in insulation or that are located inside fireboxes. ExxonMobil will also use an optical gas imaging camera to monitor its open-ended lines for leaks. To address continuous emissions monitoring system violations, ExxonMobil will develop a comprehensive plan to ensure implementation and compliance with regulatory requirements.
Under the consent decree amendment, ExxonMobil will pay $1,515,463 in penalties, $1,086,640 to the federal government and $428,823 to the State of Illinois. The amendment also includes an estimated $10 million of improvements to reduce air emissions from the facility.
Today’s settlement, lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, will be subject to a 30-day public comment period after notice of the settlement is published in the Federal Register.