US

BP agrees to $500k fine, soot limit at Northwest Indiana refinery

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WHITING, Ind. Oil giant BP agreed to pay a $512,450 fine on Thursday and reduce soot from its Whiting refinery under an agreement with regulators and activists, who have accused the company of violating an earlier agreement.

The U.S. District Court agreement amends an earlier consent decree requiring BP Products North America Inc. restricted release from the vast facility on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan.

“Today’s agreement will significantly reduce fine particulate pollution from factories,” said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project and former enforcement director for the US Environmental Protection Agency. refinery and ensure that emissions limit violations are reported and promptly remedied.

The refinery 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Chicago converts about 440,000 barrels of crude oil daily into gasoline, other fuels and asphalt. It covers 1,400 acres in Whiting, East Chicago, and Hammond, Indiana, largely in communities of color.

Originally built by Standard Oil in 1889, it is the largest oil refinery in the Midwest, sixth largest in the United States, and BP’s largest worldwide.

Its high-temperature processing components release microscopic “particulate matter” or soot, which has been linked to asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Environmental groups sued the company in 2008. A 2012 settlement involving six groups, the EPA and Indiana required the refinery to meet emissions limits, with compliance measured through through periodic inspections.

Environmentalists filed another lawsuit in 2019, said the refinery had exceeded the limit multiple times and repeatedly failed to operate the required pollution control equipment.

Under the latest agreement, BP has agreed to conduct stack tests at least every six months and ensure the results are accurate; report and fix the damage of control equipment; installation and commissioning of new analytical instruments; and pay additional fines for future violations.

Spokeswoman Christina Giannelli said: “BP is pleased to address these issues. “We remain committed to safe, reliable and compliant operations at Whiting Refinery and everywhere we operate.”

Other environmental organizations participating in the lawsuit include the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Sierra Club and Save the Dunes.

“Our fight against BP pollution has gone on longer than it should have,” said Ann Alexander, senior attorney for the NRDC. “Let’s hope that this settlement is the end of the matter.”

https://wgntv.com/news/bp-agrees-to-500k-penalty-soot-limits-at-northwest-indiana-refinery/ BP agrees to $500k fine, soot limit at Northwest Indiana refinery

CELINE CASTRONUOVO

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