2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

A chemical company agreed to pay a $3.4 million civil penalty and spend an estimated $118 million in compliance measures at three Texas facilities to settle allegations that its flare operations had violated the Clean Air Act.

Improper Flare Operation
According to the news release issued by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), “the company failed to properly operate and monitor its industrial flares, which resulted in excess emissions of harmful air pollution at three Texas facilities. The company regularly ‘oversteamed’ the flares and failed to comply with other key operating constraints to ensure the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) contained in the gases routed to the flares are efficiently combusted.”

Fence-Line Monitoring
As part of the settlement, the company will install pollution control and emissions monitoring equipment at the three facilities. The company also agreed to conduct fence-line monitoring of benzene emissions and take corrective actions when benzene readings are high.

Flare Compliance Is an EPA Priority
This enforcement action and settlement is in keeping with EPA’s ongoing policy of making flare compliance a priority.

At one facility, the company will operate a flare gas recovery system to recycle gases instead of sending them to the flare to be combusted. For the other facilities, it will “amend its air quality permits to limit the flow of gases at select flares.”

The settlement is described in detail in a proposed Consent Decree, which is subject to a thirty-day comment period. To see DOJ’s news release, which provides a link to access the proposed Consent Decree https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/chevron-phillips-chemical-company-agrees-reduce-harmful-air-pollution-three-us-chemical