NPT Biz: Western ‘inherits’ $2.25 million fine for NM violations
A news release last week (Feb. 24, 2009) described a $2.25 million settlement with El Paso’s Western Refining over a ruling that Bloomfield and Gallup refineries violated federal and state air pollution rules in 2005. The release noted that Western acquired the refineries from Giant in 2007, leaving it unclear if Western was part of the 2005 ruling or whether it “inherited” the ruling when it acquired the refineries in 2007. A Western spokesman said it was the latter. For the news release, follow the jump.
Environment Department Negotiates Settlement with Western Refining Co. Requiring $2.25 Million in Environmental Improvements in Northwestern New Mexico
Requirement is Part of NMED’s Revision to Company’s Final Order Detailing Past Environmental Violations
(Santa Fe, NM) – New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry today announced his agency reached a settlement with Western Refining Co. that requires the refinery to pay for $2.25 million in projects to improve the environment in northwestern New Mexico and across the state.
The Environment Department — as a result of the settlement — revised a 2005 order issued to Western for state and federal air quality violations from crude oil operations at the company’s Bloomfield and Gallup refineries. Western acquired the refineries from Giant industries in May 2007 and since then has worked cooperatively with the state to address those issues.
“This settlement will mean the people of New Mexico will enjoy cleaner air sooner than under the 2005 agreement while allowing Western the flexibility to implement more cost effective measures,” said New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry. “This settlement is an excellent example of the positive results that occur when businesses and environmental regulators sit down and strike a deal that works for all involved.”
Under the terms of the settlement Western will implement a catalyst program at both refineries by the end the year, allowing the company to reduce emissions more quickly and in a more cost-effective way than under the 2005 order.
The revision resolves claims in NMED’s 2005 order for the company. Western, which can not deduct the $2.25 million from its taxes, will be liable for stipulated penalties if it violates the revised order.
The department issued a final order to Western in 2005 for environmental violations at the Bloomfield and Gallup refineries. The company violated the New Mexico Air Quality Act by failing to upgrade equipment in a time specified in the department’s compliance order.