Clean air agreement

ExxonMobil has reached an agreement with the US DOJ and the EPA that is expected to reduce harmful air emissions by more than 53,000 tons per year at the company’s seven US petroleum refineries.


ExxonMobil has reached a comprehensive Clean Air Act (CAA) agreement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is expected to reduce harmful air emissions by more than 53,000 tons per year at the company’s seven US petroleum refineries.



The seven refineries, located in five states, represent approximately 11% of the total refining capacity in the US.



The settlement is the 17th in a joint DOJ-EPA initiative to reduce pollution in US petroleum refineries, bringing nearly 77% of US refining capacity under consent decree.



The settlements were all reached without litigation as the companies agreed to work with the US government in reaching settlements that would protect the environment and allow refiners to expand fuel production in compliance with the environmental laws.


The settlement was reached through the lodging of two separate consent decrees, which require ExxonMobil to install and implement innovative control technologies, reducing annual emissions of harmful toxins that can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma.



As a result of the agreement, emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) will be reduced by nearly 11,000 tons per year and sulphur dioxide (SO2) by over 42,000 tons per year. In addition, the company will upgrade its leak detection and repair practices, minimise flaring of hazardous gases, reduce emissions from its sulphur recovery plants and adopt strategies to ensure the proper handling of hazardous benzene wastes at each refinery. ExxonMobil has estimated that the capital cost of the injunctive relief program will be approximately $571 million.


Three states have also joined in the settlement: Illinois, Louisiana, and Montana. Under the terms of the agreement, ExxonMobil will pay $8.7 million in civil penalties, and spend an additional $9.7 million on Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) in communities around the company’s refineries. As partners in the settlement, the states of Illinois, Louisiana, and Montana will share in the civil penalties.



The affected ExxonMobil refineries are located in Baton Rouge, LA.; Baytown, TX; Beaumont, TX; Billings, MT; Chalmette, LA; Joliet, IL; and Torrance, CA. The Chalmette Refinery is owned by Chalmette Refining, a joint venture between ExxonMobil and Petroleos de Venezuela.


ExxonMobil’s refinery in Chalmette, LA, was heavily affected by Hurricane Katrina and is temporarily out of operation. At the request of ExxonMobil, today’s consent decrees reflect a more flexible compliance timetable for that particular refinery.