Chemical facilitiesExxonMobil to pay fines for violations at its Baton Rouge chemical facilities

Published 28 January 2014

In a settlement with Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), ExxonMobil is ordered to pay $2.329 million to address violations from 2008 to 2013 at its greater Baton Rouge facilities. ExxonMobil was cited for a series of problems at its refinery and resin-finishing and chemical plants in East Baton Rouge Parish, and its tank-farm facility in West Baton Rouge.

In a settlement with Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), ExxonMobil is ordered to pay $2.329 million to address violations from 2008 to 2013 at its greater Baton Rouge facilities. ExxonMobil was cited for a series of problems at its refinery and resin-finishing and chemical plants in East Baton Rouge Parish, and its tank-farm facility in West Baton Rouge, according to theLouisiana Weekly. The settlement proposed by ExxonMobil and approved by the state will spare both parties the expense of litigation. As part of the agreement, ExxonMobil has been allowed to deny that it committed any violations or is liable for any penalties.

ExxonMobil worked with DEQ last year to identify ways we can go beyond regulatory and permit requirements to continue to enhance our environmental performance going forward,” Stephanie Cargile, the company’s government affairs manager in Baton Rouge, said last week. “In addition to making direct penalty payments to DEQ, ExxonMobil will make donations to local non-profit organizations. ExxonMobil voluntarily identified several projects that would enhance the environment of neighborhoods near our operations.”

As part of the settlement, ExxonMobil must pay a civil penalty of $300,000 to DEQ, spend at least $1 million on Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) projects at its Baton Rouge complex, and will fund Beneficial Environmental Projects (BEPs) totaling $1.029 million. BEP projects include $400,000 for a Groundwater Reduction Project to reduce the company’s groundwater usage; $250,000 donation to DEQ to improve the agency’s Early Warning Organic Chemical Detection System; $100,000 donated to the East Baton Rouge Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness/Local Emergency Planning Committee to implement the ExxonMobil North Baton Rouge Emergency Preparedness Initiative; and a $100,000 donation to Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge for weatherproofing and air tightening of homes, particularly, homes near ExxonMobil facilities.

Anna Hrybyk, program manager at the Louisiana Bucket Brigade in New Orleans, said: “the money allocated for the Local Emergency Planning Committee and Rebuilding Together isn’t enough to improve environmental health in the area, given Exxon’s frequent accidents. How can you weatherize homes with $100,000 for 59,000 people living within two miles of the plant? That small amount is an insult to people living near the facility whose homes are not airtight.”

Exxon also agreed to a $50,000 donation to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation for groundwater-conservation awareness in East Baton Rouge Parish; a $50,000 donation to DEQ to fund the agency’s Expanded Age Distribution and Vehicle Popu­lation Data Project on emissions in Louisiana; a $29,000 donation to the Louisiana Foundation for Excellence in Science, Technology and Education, or LaFESTE, for the Baton Rouge Clean Air Coalition; a $25,000 donation to Baton Rouge Green Association Inc.’s NeighborWoods project near the refinery; and $25,000 payment to install a meteorological station at the company’s Baton Rouge refinery complex.

ExxonMobil is required to meet deadlines and inform DEQ on how the settlements obligations are being met.

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