The parties have resolved the administrative penalty assessment proceeding, with Chevron U.S.A. Inc. paying approximately $650,000 and American Refining Group Inc. (ARG) $220,000, according to a press release issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday. The respondents reportedly exceeded various Clean Air Act (CAA) fuel quality standards, which are designed to reduce motor vehicle air pollution.
According to the EPA, the agency discovered Chevron’s abuses during a 2016 refineries evaluation and from information the company self-disclosed. Specifically, Chevron produced or imported fuel that failed to comply with the gasoline volatility standard, resulting in excess emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a building block of ground-level ozone. Ground-level ozone is known to cause a smattering of adverse health and environmental impacts like respiratory illness and aggravation of existing heart disease, the EPA advised.
The company also purportedly transgressed the gasoline per-gallon sulfur standard and the gasoline benzene credit reporting requirements. Violations of the former reportedly reduce the efficacy of emission control systems in vehicles and engines.
The press release explained that ARG’s violations were uncovered from information the company similarly self-reported to the EPA. For an 18-month period, ARG reported that its Bradford, Pennsylvania refinery produced more than 43 million gallons of gasoline blendstock with an average benzene concentration of 1.36 volume percent, a figure allegedly exceeding the maximum average gasoline benzene standard. As a result, additional emissions of the toxic air pollutant and known carcinogen were released.