Murphy Oil settles over environmental issuesThe U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Madison, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Wisconsin Department of Justice today announced a proposed settlement with Murphy Oil USA Inc., which will dramatically cut nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter emissions from its Superior refinery.
The U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Madison, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Wisconsin Department of Justice today announced a proposed settlement with Murphy Oil USA Inc., which will dramatically cut nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter emissions from its Superior refinery.
It will also improve Murphy Oil’s programs to monitor and repair leaks of volatile organic compounds and to prevent oil spills. Murphy will also pay a $1.25 million civil penalty.
This is the second Wisconsin settlement with Murphy Oil, which had previously entered into a settlement addressing Clean Air Act violations at its Superior refinery in 2002, after a 10-day trial. Today’s settlement will replace the 2002 settlement. The 2002 settlement required cuts in sulfur dioxide emissions, monitoring and repair of leaks of volatile organic compounds and to prevent oil spills. Murphy paid a $5.5 million civil penalty out of which the state of Wisconsin received $750,000.
Of the $1.25 million in civil penalties under the current settlement $625,000 will go to the United States that initiated the enforcement effort, $395,312.50 to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and $229,687.50 will go to the state of Wisconsin even though Murphy’s Louisiana facility is approximately four times the size of its Wisconsin facility.
Murphy Oil USA has agreed to install new and upgraded pollution reduction equipment at its two petroleum refineries in Wisconsin and Louisiana, at an estimated cost of $142 million as part of a comprehensive Clean Air Act settlement, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department announced today.
The new air pollution control technologies and other measures to be implemented at both refineries will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide by nearly 1,400 tons per year once all controls are installed.
In Wisconsin this will mean reductions of about 56.5 tons of nitrogen oxide, 446 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 12.3 tons particulate matter per year. Additional total reductions of 338 tons per year of nitrogen oxides are required from both facilities due to required improvements in facility heaters and boilers. The settlement will also reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds, particulate matter and carbon monoxide. These pollutants can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma, among other adverse health effects.
The states of Wisconsin and Louisiana, including the Wisconsin Department of Justice and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, actively participated in and are joining in the settlement with Murphy, which was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.
“Compliance with Wisconsin's and federal air pollution control laws is essential to keep a level economic playing field between all Wisconsin businesses and their competitors, and to protect public health,” said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said in a prepared statement. “This settlement sends the right message in both respects.”