Exxon Mobil has agreed to reduce air pollution at refinery near Chicago - U.S. Justice Department

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A logo of the Exxon Mobil Corp is seen at the Rio Oil and Gas Expo and Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

WASHINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) has reached an agreement with U.S. and Illinois regulators to reduce air pollution at its refinery near Chicago in Joliet, Illinois, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement on Tuesday.

The consent decree, which will require ExxonMobil to make operational changes to its sulfur recovery plant to reduce emissions, marks yet another sign that the Biden administration will be flexing its muscles in an effort to crack down on big polluters.

It comes less than a month after the Environmental Protection Agency revoked an expansion permit for the Limetree Bay oil refinery in the Virgin Islands, amid concerns about the facility's impact on air pollution.

Under the settlement with ExxonMobil, the company has agreed to pay more than $1.5 million in penalties, a little over $1 million of which will go to the federal government. The remainder will be paid to Illinois.

It will also undertake an estimated $10 million of improvements to reduce air emissions, the Justice Department said.

Reporting by Susan Heavey and Jan Wolfe

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