The Obama administration said Monday it is putting new ideas to work in dealing with clean air violators, using a far-reaching $425 million settlement agreement with U.S. refiners Tesoro and Par to reduce pollution and combat climate change across six states.
"This settlement puts new enforcement ideas to work that will dramatically cut pollution and protect communities," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for enforcement with the Environmental Protection Agency. "The advanced technologies Tesoro and Par are required to implement are the future for protecting people from toxic air emissions."
The settlement will improve air quality in communities across the Western U.S., said John C. Cruden, assistant attorney general for energy at the Justice Department.
But it also promises to ease pollution globally when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emission spurring climate change, according to Cruden.
"It uses cutting-edge technology to address global environmental issues like climate change by controlling flaring and provides important reductions of harmful air pollution in communities facing environmental and health challenges," Cruden said.
The EPA and the Justice Department announced the $425 million settlement with subsidiaries of Tesoro Corp. and Par Hawaii Refining for Clean Air Act violations at six refineries in states as far-ranging as Alaska and Hawaii.
The companies will spend about $403 million to install and operate pollution control equipment, and Tesoro will spend about $12 million to fund environmental projects in communities impacted by pollution, according to the EPA. Tesoro also will pay $10.45 milllion in civil penalties.
The settlement, or consent decree, was lodged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas and includes provisions to resolve Clean Air Act violations at refineries in Kenai, Alaska; Martinez, Calif; Kapolei, Hawaii; Mandan, N.D.; Salt Lake City; and Anacortes, Wash. The companies did not admit guilt.
The settlement will primarily affect pollutants other than carbon dioxide.
"We take compliance with environmental regulations very seriously pleased to have reached agreement on this consent decree that allows us to fully implement the required procedures and investments to further improve our environmental performance," said Keith Casey, Tesoro's executive vice president for operations.