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Environment

ExxonMobil settles U.S. air pollution enforcement case

by Cheryl Hogue
November 6, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 44

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Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters/Newscom
ExxonMobil's polyethylene plant in Beaumont, Texas, is one of the facilities involved in the settlement.
Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters/Newscom
ExxonMobil's polyethylene plant in Beaumont, Texas, is one of the facilities involved in the settlement.

ExxonMobil will spend $300 million to reduce air emissions from four olefin plants and four polyethylene facilities and pay a $2.5 million fine to settle allegations that it violated U.S. federal air pollution regulations. ExxonMobil had modified the facilities and increased their emissions without getting required air pollution permits, says Patrick Traylor, Environmental Protection Agency deputy assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance. The settlement, announced on Oct. 31, requires the company to curb air pollution emitted from inefficient combustion of waste gases within flares at the plants. Traylor says that when fully implemented by 2020, the upgrades at the eight plants will prevent emissions of about 6,400 metric tons per year of volatile organic pollutants and 1,400 metric tons per year of hazardous air pollutants. The facilities are located in Texas in Baytown, Beaumont, and Mont Belvieu and in Baton Rouge, La. Under the settlement, ExxonMobil will also spend $2.5 million on supplemental environmental projects, including planting trees in Baytown.

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