Hunt Refining Settles Federal Air Pollution Case for $49 Million

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Sept. 28, 2007

The Hunt Refining Co. and Hunt Southland Refining Co. have agreed to pay a $400,000 civil penalty and spend more than $48.5 million for new and upgraded pollution controls at three refineries, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced. The settlement resolves alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and is expected to reduce more than 1,250 tons of harmful emissions annually from the company's refineries in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Sandersville and Lumberton, Miss.

"EPA is committed to enforcing the laws that protect the environment and public health," said Granta Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Including today's settlement, refineries across the country have agreed to spend nearly $5 billion in new pollution control technologies and pay $70 million in penalties."

"This settlement continues the work of the Department of Justice to assure that all refineries in the United States are in compliance with the Clean Air Act," said Ronald J. Tenpas, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This settlement, which was done in coordination with the States of Alabama and Mississippi, requires new pollution controls, reduces air pollutants by a significant amount, secures a sizeable civil penalty, and obtains important environmental projects for the impacted communities."

The states of Alabama and Mississippi have also joined in today's consent decree and will share portions of the civil penalty with EPA.

The agreement requires new pollution controls to be installed that will reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxide by approximately 150 tons per year and sulfur dioxide by almost 1,100 tons per year when fully implemented. The new controls also will result in additional reductions of volatile organic compounds and particulate matter from each of the refineries. Volatile organic compounds and sulfur dioxide can contribute to respiratory disorders such as asthma and reduced lung capacity. They can also cause damage to ecosystems and reduce visibility. The three refineries covered by today's settlement have the capacity to produce nearly 70,000 barrels of oil per day.

In addition, Hunt will spend $475,000 on projects to benefit the community and environment. Hunt has agreed to upgrade controls to reduce volatile organic compound emissions from the wastewater systems at the Tuscaloosa refinery and will also buy emergency preparedness equipment and train mutual aid responders in Vicksburg, Miss. and Choctaw County, Ala.

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