Exxon pays up for alleged air pollution

Nick Rees Jun. 28, 2010, 2:36pm


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - ExxonMobil Corporation and two affiliates will pay the state of Massachusetts a $2.9 million civil penalty.

The payment resolves allegations that it violated air pollution laws at two of its gasoline terminals, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Monday.

"When adequate emission control measures are not in place, bulk gasoline terminals can emit harmful air pollutants that can compromise public health," Coakley said.

"Today's action is an important step to hold ExxonMobil accountable while also protecting the air quality and health of residents in the communities surrounding Everett and Springfield.

The air pollution violations allegedly occurred at ExxonMobil's bulk gasoline terminals in Everett and Springfield. Under terms of the settlement, ExxonMobil is required to greatly reduce gasoline vapor emissions by improving air pollution control systems at both terminals.

ExxonMobil is alleged to have made changes to its vapor collection and recovery system that controls emissions of volatile organic compounds at its Everett terminal between 1999 and 2001. The company did this without seeking approval from MassDEP, Coakley says.

Among the changes made were the removal of certain emission controls that were required under the terminal's state air permits. Coakley also alleged that the company failed to control emissions of volatile organic compounds at the facility during a 2008 degassing of a storage tank.

Volatile organic compounds from gasoline tank trucks during loading operations were not properly controlled at either the Everett or Springfield terminals, Coakley alleged, and the company failed to comply with emissions monitoring, repair and reporting requirements. ExxonMobil, as a result of these violations, increased gasoline vapor emissions at both facilities beyond those allowed under their permits and state law, it is alleged

Under terms of the settlement, ExxonMobil is required to substantially renovate the loading racks at both bulk gas terminals, which are used to store and distribute large quantities of gasoline and other fuels to tank trucks.

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