11/20/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/20/2023 15:33
November 20, 2023
The United States and the State of Kansas allege that CRRM violated numerous provisions of a 2012 consent decreeand the Clean Air Act. Under the settlement, CRRM will spend at least $1 million on a project to benefit the public and environment of Kansas and implement measures costing up to $9 million to prevent future violations and redress the environmental harm caused by their unlawful conduct. The company will also pay more than $13 million in penalties to the United States and Kansas.
"The settlement with Coffeyville delivers on the promise of EPA's new climate enforcement strategy by reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of 10,000 cars," said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "In addition, the actions we are taking alongside our state partners in Kansas will reduce harmful air pollution that makes breathing more difficult and causes smog, acid rain, and tree and plant damage."
"This settlement demonstrates that the United States will take decisive action to address Clean Air Act violations, to enforce the terms of consent decrees and to promote environmental justice," said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). "The emissions reductions achieved under this settlement will result in healthier air for a community disproportionately affected by air pollution, including for residents of the nearby Cherokee Nation."
"We are committed to protecting people and families in the communities where they live," said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. "In addition to the emission controls provided in the settlement, this order requires CRRM to invest $1 million in an environmental project to be approved by the state of Kansas, which will directly benefit the citizens of the state."
Since the United States and Kansas began investigating CRRM's alleged non-compliance in 2016, CRRM's efforts to come into compliance with Clean Air Act requirements have already eliminated more than 39,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from excessive flaring of waste gas, equivalent to using nearly 4 million fewer gallons of gasoline per year. In addition, EPA estimates that the flare gas recovery system required by the consent decree lodged today will further reduce yearly emissions of greenhouse gases by 12,888 tons, equivalent to using 1.3 million fewer gallons of gasoline annually and will also reduce yearly emissions of SO2 by 1.7 tons and nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 9.57 tons. NOx is a primary contributor to the formation of smog.
In 2020, the United States and Kansas sought more than $6.8 million in stipulated penalties from CRRM because of the company's alleged violations of the 2012 consent decree - primarily regarding its failure to properly monitor SO2 emissions from flaring. Various refinery processes lead to flaring or burning of waste gases which emit various pollutants into the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide, methane, and SO2. The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas held CRRM liable for the stipulated penalties and the company appealed the decision.
Also in 2020, the United States and Kansas alleged additional Clean Air Act violations at the refinery, resulting in excess emissions of SO2 in a community already disproportionately impacted by air pollution. Exposure to SO2 can harm breathing and particularly affects those with asthma, children, and older adults. High concentrations of SO2 can lead to formation of other sulfur oxides and ultimately small particles, which can contribute to particulate matter pollution, acid rain and tree and plant damage.
The consent decree, which the United States filed today, resolves the stipulated penalties demand and violations identified in the complaint. CRRM must:
EPA Region 7, EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment investigated the case. The Department of Justice's ENRD Environmental Enforcement Section and the State of Kansas prosecuted the case.
The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. The consent decree will be available for viewing at the 2023 Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing, LLC Clean Air Act Settlement Information Sheet.