ExxonMobil Corporation to Pay $2.9 Million Penalty for Violating Air Pollution Laws Under Settlement with AG Coakley's Office
Violations Alleged to have Occurred at Oil Company's Gasoline Terminals in Everett and Springfield
In addition, as part of a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) aimed at enhancing air quality in one of the impacted communities, ExxonMobil is also required to contribute $200,000 to the Chelsea Collaborative to help fund the replacement of stationary diesel refrigeration units at the New England Produce Center with non-polluting electrically-driven units.
"When adequate emission control measures are not in place, bulk gasoline terminals can emit harmful air pollutants that can compromise public health," said AG Coakley. "Today's action is an important step to hold ExxonMobil accountable while also protecting the air quality and health of residents in the communities surrounding Everett and Springfield"Big Oil can no longer marginalize environmental compliance while increasing their gasoline sales and distribution in Massachusetts," said MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt. "Exxon Mobil's two gasoline terminals will be required to reconstruct their facilities to comply with the most stringent air pollution control requirements in the country. These upgrades will reduce emissions of gasoline vapors, volatile organic compounds and other toxic pollutants in communities already burdened by other environmental health issues."
The lawsuit, also filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges that between 1999 and 2001, without seeking approval from MassDEP, ExxonMobil made changes to the vapor collection and recovery system used to control emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at its Everett terminal. These changes included the removal of certain emissions controls required under the terminal's state air permits, according to the lawsuit. ExxonMobil also failed to control VOC emissions during the degassing of a storage tank at the Everett facility in 2008, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit further alleged ExxonMobil failed, at both the Everett and Springfield terminals, to properly control emissions of VOC's from gasoline tank trucks during loading operations and failed to comply with emissions monitoring, repair, and reporting requirements. As a result of these violations, ExxonMobil increased gasoline vapor emissions at both facilities beyond those allowed under their permits and state law.
Bulk gas terminals store large quantities of gasoline and other fuels, which are then distributed through onsite loading racks to tank trucks. The tank trucks then transfer the fuels to commercial gasoline stations and other facilities throughout Massachusetts and New England . During gasoline loading operations, the terminals generate hazardous air pollutants.
The settlement reached with ExxonMobil also requires the companies to make substantial renovations to the loading racks at both terminals. The renovations include installation of negative pressure vacuum assist technology as part of the vapor collection and recovery systems at the terminals. The negative pressure system will significantly improve the VOC emission control rate at the facilities.
The settlement agreement also requires ExxonMobil to replace the existing "flare" vapor combustion unit at the Springfield terminal with a modern carbon absorption vapor recovery system similar to the systems in use at all of the state's other gas terminals. The new vapor recovery system will reduce VOCs and CO 2 emissions from the facility. In addition, ExxonMobil is required to undertake enhanced vapor and liquid leak inspections at both facilities using an infra-red optical imaging camera and to use certain improved technology to control emissions from storage tanks.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Tracy Triplett and Betsy Harper of Attorney General Coakley's Environmental Protection Division. Investigating the case and working with the Attorney General's Office on its enforcement were MassDEP staff, including Susan Ruch, Ed Braczyk, Joseph Su, Tom Hannah, Amy LaPusata, Cosmo Buttaro, Colleen McConnell, and Doug Shallcross.