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Kansas Refinery to Pay $23 Million for Clean Air Act Violations

by Anna

A Kansas refinery, known as Coffeyville Resources Refining and Marketing (CRRM), has agreed to a payment exceeding $23 million for violating the federal Clean Air Act and breaching a 2012 settlement related to prior pollution issues, as announced by the U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday.

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According to federal agencies, CRRM and its affiliated companies were found in violation of the Clean Air Act, resulting in illegal emissions from 2015 to 2017, including approximately 2,300 excess tons (2,000 metric tons) of sulfur dioxide from its oil refinery in Coffeyville, southeastern Kansas.

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Despite the violations, CRRM has made efforts to comply with federal requirements since the investigation commenced. These efforts have resulted in the elimination of over 39,000 tons (35,000 metric tons) per year of carbon dioxide emissions, contributing to a reduction in climate change impact. This reduction is equivalent to the effect of using nearly 4 million fewer gallons of gasoline annually, according to a joint news release by the Justice Department and EPA.

As part of the court-enforceable settlement, or consent decree, a waste gas recovery system mandated by the EPA is expected to further reduce yearly emissions of greenhouse gases by nearly 13,000 tons (12,000 metric tons). This reduction is equivalent to using 1.3 million fewer gallons of gasoline each year and will also have positive effects on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, improving air quality and reducing health risks.

Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim highlighted the positive impact of the settlement, stating, “The emissions reductions achieved under this settlement will result in healthier air for a community disproportionately affected by air pollution.”

CRRM has not provided an immediate response to requests for comment on the settlement.

The agreement also outlines a commitment by the company to allocate at least $1 million towards an environmentally beneficial project, subject to state approval. The consent decree is currently under a 30-day public comment period before seeking final court approval.

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