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Sinclair Oil to Pay $3.8M Penalty and Install Pollution Controls at Wyoming Refineries to Resolve Violations of 2008 Consent Decree

August 24, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice reached a settlement with two subsidiaries of Sinclair Oil Corporation to resolve alleged violations of air pollution limits established in a 2008 consent decree at refineries in Casper and Sinclair, Wyo. Sinclair Casper Refining Co. and Sinclair Wyoming Refining Co. will pay stipulated penalties totaling $3,844,000 and spend approximately $10.5 million on additional pollution control equipment and other projects to resolve the allegations. The settlement will require the Sinclair companies to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by approximately 24 tons per year, sulfur dioxide (SO2) by approximately 385 tons per year, and particulate matter by approximately 59 tons per year.

“EPA is committed to ensuring that companies comply with environmental requirements that protect people's health,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This settlement holds Sinclair accountable for exceeding the emissions limits agreed to in a previous settlement for Clean Air Act violations and ensures that the people of Wyoming have cleaner, healthier air.”

“Parties who enter into consent decrees with the United States must adhere to their obligations, and failure to comply will result in further penalties,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “This settlement requires Sinclair to pay a significant $3,844,000 penalty and provide additional emission reductions beyond those required in the original settlement.”

The alleged violations stem from Sinclair’s failure to meet the terms of the 2008 consent decree, including exceeding NOx emissions limits at the Casper and Sinclair, Wyoming refineries and failing to comply with requirements to operate and maintain a flare gas recovery system at the Sinclair Refinery, resulting in excess emissions of SO2. The problems will be addressed by installing and operating a selective catalytic reduction system to control NOx emissions and by upgrading the flare gas recovery system to meet SO2 emissions limits. Sinclair will also complete a project to provide road paving at its Sinclair refinery that will reduce particulate matter emissions by an additional 59 tons per year and reduce fuel oil burning at the Casper refinery from the existing 188 tons per year limit to no more than 95 tons per year.

The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

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