Chevron agreed to settle with the US Environmental Protection Agency for pollution violation at its Salt Lake City refinery. Under the deal, the company will pay $284,000 in fines and purchase four new compressed natural gas school buses for the Jordan School District. The deal is worth a total of $384,000.
Mike Gaydosh, director of EPA’s enforcement program in Denver, said it is vital that companies conduct their business responsibly and get the proper permits before implementing changes to their infrastructure that increases emissions of air pollutants. The deal with Chevron will ensure the company will operate according with the standards of the industry to protect the environment and the health of the communities.
EPA inspectors and the Utah Division of Air Quality found out five years ago that the company ran the refinery’s Fluid Catalytic Cracker Unit differently than what was expected. It resulted to various violations of the federal Clean Air Act. The agencies said that the alleged operation led to excess nitrogen oxide emissions that contributed to Utah’s pollution problems.
Greg Hardy, Chevron spokesman, said that the company didn’t admit liability or guilt as part of the deal. He maintained that the refinery didn’t exceed its permit limits for nitrogen oxide emissions. He said that the EPA contended that the way Chevron operated the facility doesn’t mean it emitted excessive greenhouse gases.
Bryce Bird, top air quality official of Utah, said that the deal requires Chevron to improve and install pollution controls on the three engines at the refinery. The changes will decrease the nitrogen oxide emissions by around 50 tons a year.
The impact of the changes will be felt by the communities near the refinery. Most of the residents are minority and low income households. The new school buses will have impact on health. More than 200 students would not breathe diesel pollutants. They will also save around 6,338 gallons of diesel fuel will be saved a year.