Mayhall Fondren Blaize

Oil & Gas Law attorneys negotiate promising settlement with EPA

Oil refineries play a critical role in fueling the mass transport vehicles that distribute resources throughout the country. There is generally an ongoing tension, however, between the vital role that the industry plays in the economic well-being of the country, and the terrible toll that it can take with respect to air quality and the personal health of the general citizenry. Thus, we find in Louisiana and other oil-producing states that Oil & Gas law considerations, along with environmental impact, are constant dynamics interplaying with the industry's ability to function effectively and efficiently.  

That preface sets the stage for reports of a recent $425 million settlement between the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice and two corporate oil refiners to clean up the air considerably and improve the operating efficiency of the all-important oil & gas refineries. The agreement is expected to reduce pollution emissions in the oil-producing areas by almost 43,000 tons each year.

The two corporate giants settling with federal agencies are Tesoro Corp. and Par Hawaii Refining. The settlement will clear off the books Justice Department pollution allegations against both companies. In a responsible and supportive statement, Tesoro's executive vice president for operations said that the company was "pleased" with the settlement and looked forward to improving its environmental performance. The companies will pump millions into new pollution-control equipment. The improvements will be noticed by individuals suffering from conditions such as asthma within a short time.

The impact will result in cleaner air in six states, but Louisiana is not one of them. The deal even includes replacing diesel fuel buses with natural gas buses in one area. When such negotiations take place, attorneys familiar with Oil & Gas Law and with environmental law engage in litigating and negotiating the case forward. In this case, all parties benefit from a very promising agreement that addresses multiple purposes.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Oil refiners agree to pay $425 million to reduce air pollution in the West", Rick Anderson, July 18, 2016

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