WASHINGTON, D.C. — Chevron USA Inc., (Chevron) will pay nearly $150 million for safety improvements as well as a $2.95 million civil penalty and $10 million in community environmental projects as part of a settlement with federal agencies over Clean Air Act violations.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) a 2012 investigation found a fire at Chevron's Richmond, California, refinery resulted in hydrocarbons being released, which endangered employees and caused 15,000 local residents to need medical attention. In addition, accidents at two other Chevron refineries resulted in releases of regulated chemicals and the death of one refinery worker, the DOJ said.
“The Clean Air Act’s hazardous chemical risk management program is intended to protect local communities and American workers,” DOJ Environment and Natural Resources Division acting assistant attorney general Jeffrey Wood said in a statement. “[This] action, taken jointly with our enforcement partners at EPA and the state of Mississippi, strengthens emergency prevention and response systems at Chevron’s U.S. refineries, which will help to protect their workers and the communities in which they live from dangerous chemical accidents.”
The settlement also resolves allegations that Chevron violated the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) by delaying reporting of hydrogen sulfide release at its Richmond refinery, according to the DOJ.