Chevron settles air pollution allegations

Nick Rees Jul. 19, 2012, 5:56am


TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced on Wednesday that Chevron USA Inc. will pay a civil penalty of $231,875 following a joint state-federal settlement over alleged air pollution control law violations.

Chevron, in a joint complaint filed by the Department of Environmental protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, allegedly violated state and federal air quality laws at its asphalt refinery in Perth Amboy.

Additionally, Chevron allegedly violated rules pertaining to leak detection and repair requirements for hazardous air pollutants at the Perth Amboy plant and violated conditions of the plant's Title V air operating permit.

"We are committed to working with DEP to ensure compliance with New Jersey's air quality and other pollution control laws," Chiesa said. "This collaborative effort is critical to protecting our environment and preserving the quality of life of New Jersey residents."

Two administrative orders were previously issued against Chevron by the DEP, which assed penalties of approximately $134,000 for violations of the state's Pollution Control Act between 2005 and 2008. Chevron was also cited for failing to fulfill the conditions of its operating permit, including proper record-keeping related to leaks, inspections and visible flare emissions, and installing equipment without first obtaining an operating permit.

The joint settlement agreement resolves the alleged joint state-federal complaint violations and the violations from the two prior administrative orders.

The Perth Amboy asphalt refining plant's crude unit is currently closed, but the facility is operated on a limited basis as a tank terminal.

The settlement, which is awaiting approval from the U.S. District Court, requires Chevron to provide enhanced leak detection and repair valves and pipelines if operation is restarted at the plant's crude unit.

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