Consent Decree Sets Emissions Cuts at Shell Deer Park in Motion

Shell Oil Co. also would pay a civil penalty of $2.6 million. The Justice Department is publishing the proposed decree July 16 and seeking comments in the next 30 days.

The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking public comments during the next 30 days on a proposed consent decree to settle a federal lawsuit alleging Shell Oil Co. and two affiliated partnerships violated the Clean Air Act; the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act; and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act at their petroleum refinery and chemical plant in Deer Park, Texas.

The consent decree calls for Shell to implement additional pollution control technologies to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and hazardous air pollutants from the 12 flares it operates at the facility, and the company has agreed to use flare gas recovery systems and to cap the amount of waste gas it flares.

"In addition, at a cost of between $15 and $60 million, Shell will undertake numerous activities at its wastewater treatment plant, its tanks, and its benzene extraction unit to reduce VOC emissions and mitigate the effect of alleged past excess VOC emissions. Shell also will install a $1 million state-of-the-art monitor at its fenceline to record benzene emissions and make the results available to the public, as well as spend $200,000 to retrofit publicly-owned diesel vehicles in the vicinity of the plant to reduce emissions. Finally, Shell will pay a civil penalty of $2.6 million," according to DOJ's notice.

Comments should be addressed to the Acting Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, should refer to United States v. Shell Oil Co., et al., D.J. Ref. No. 90-5-2-1-09388/1, and may be submitted via email to: pubcomment-ees.enrd@usdoj.gov.

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