Bryan Cohen Nov. 11, 2013, 6:21pm

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow have announced an interim agreement ordering Citgo Petroleum Corp. to investigate an October refinery fire.

During maintenance on a crude oil unit pump at Citgo's Lemont refinery on October 23, a valve and bypass piping malfunctioned. A fire occurred when heavy crude material leaked from the unit. The fire caused the release of pollutants, smoke, particulate matter and other contaminants into the air.

"This incident created a significant threat to public safety and the surrounding environment," Madigan said. "We're taking this legal action to ensure that Citgo takes all necessary steps to prevent dangerous equipment malfunctions."

Under the terms of the agreement, Citgo must determine the cause of the fire and release of contaminants and provide recommended corrective actions and a work plan for approval by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Citgo must also submit the location and results of any air sampling it conducted during or after the fire that details the amounts of contaminants released and a list of all officials, agencies and citizens it contacted related to the incident.

Citgo is not permitted to restart the vacuum section of the crude unit until the company demonstrates it is safe to resume operation.

Madigan and Glasgow also filed a three-count lawsuit alleging the company violated air pollution laws and failed to operate its facility in a way that minimizes the release of hazardous substances. Each count seeks of a civil penalty of $50,000 per violation and an added $10,000 for each day of each violation.


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