WASHINGTON, DC, August 27, 2012 (ENS) – The U.S. government alleges that Sinclair Oil Corp. violated air pollution limits established in a 2008 consent decree at refineries in Casper and Sinclair, Wyoming, releasing excessive amounts of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter into the air.

To settle these allegations, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. EPA announced that Sinclair Casper Refining Co. and Sinclair Wyoming Refining Co. have agreed to pay fines totaling $3.844 million and spend $10.5 million on pollution control equipment and other projects.

Sinclair refinery

Refinery in Sinclair, Wyoming (Photo by Deb and Dave)

The settlement requires the Sinclair companies to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, NOx by some 24 tons a year, sulfur dioxide, SO2, by about 385 tons a year, and particulate matter by 59 tons per year.

“EPA is committed to ensuring that companies comply with environmental requirements that protect people’s health,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

“This settlement holds Sinclair accountable for exceeding the emissions limits agreed to in a previous settlement for Clean Air Act violations and ensures that the people of Wyoming have cleaner, healthier air,” she said.

The alleged violations include exceeding NOx emissions limits at the Sinclair Casper and Sinclair Wyoming refineries and failing to comply with requirements to operate and maintain a flare gas recovery system, resulting in excess emissions of SO2.

These problems will be addressed when Sinclair installs and operates a selective catalytic reduction system to control NOx emissions and upgrades the flare gas recovery system to meet SO2 emissions limits.

Sinclair also will complete a project to pave roads at its Casper refinery that will reduce particulate matter emissions by an additional 59 tons per year. This additional road paving will cost approximately $1 million.

The company must also reduce fuel oil burning at the Casper refinery from the existing 188 tons per year limit to no more than 95 tons per year.

“Parties who enter into consent decrees with the United States must adhere to their obligations, and failure to comply will result in further penalties,” said Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.

“This settlement requires Sinclair to pay a significant $3.844 million penalty and provide additional emission reductions beyond those required in the original settlement.”

Click here to see more about the settlement, which is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2012. All rights reserved.