Exxon to pay about $6.1 mln for EPA violations

A view of the Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown, Texas September 15, 2008. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil will pay nearly $6.1 million in civil penalties for violations of a court-approved Clean Air Act agreement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department said on Wednesday.

The EPA said Exxon failed to monitor the sulfur content in some fuel gas streams burned in refinery furnaces, breaching a 2005 settlement between the oil company and federal regulators.

Exxon said in a statement that the company discovered some fuel gas streams that had not been addressed in the settlement while conducting an environmental self audit in November 2006 at its Baytown, Texas, refinery.

Exxon said it reported these findings to the EPA, and that all streams now meet EPA standards.

Under the original agreement, Exxon was already required to pay a $7.7 million civil penalty, $6.7 million in environmental projects in areas surrounding the company’s refineries and to install pollution controls at six U.S. refineries.

“The 2005 settlement has already resulted in major reductions in air emissions from the company’s refineries, but we need full compliance to realize all the benefits of the settlement,” said Granta Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance in a statement.

Three other Exxon refineries with EPA violations associated with the fine are located in Beaumont, Texas, Torrance, California, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Marguerita Choy