Environmental Protection

Emissions Reductions Agreed for Texas Chemical Plant

"We are pleased to have worked cooperatively with the EPA to reach an agreement that benefits area residents and appreciate EPA's commitment to identifying community projects with local support that will provide for additional emissions reductions in the area," said Phil Gaarder, vice president of operations for Flint Hills Resources.

Flint Hills Resources announced March 20 that it has reached an agreement with EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice to install state-of-the-art emissions reductions technology and other enhancements at the company's Port Arthur, Texas, chemical plant. The agreement includes $2.35 million in funding for two projects chosen by the city of Port Arthur. Actions required by the consent decree include improving the performance of the plant's flares, enhancing its leak detection and repair program, and installing a flare gas recovery system, which the company described as the first of its kind at a stand-alone U.S. olefins plant. Flint Hills Resources' investment for these enhancements is expected to be $44.5 million.

"This agreement affirms the work we have already done to improve environmental performance and reduce emissions at our Port Arthur chemical plant," said Phil Gaarder, vice president of operations for Flint Hills Resources. "We are pleased to have worked cooperatively with the EPA to reach an agreement that benefits area residents and appreciate EPA's commitment to identifying community projects with local support that will provide for additional emissions reductions in the area."

With $2 million going to the city's Diesel Emissions Reduction Project to complete a renovation of city-owned diesel-engine vehicles and $350,000 to the Energy Efficiency Project to reduce the energy demand in low-income residences, it's a win for the city. FHR also has agreed to pay a penalty of $350,000.

"Communities like Port Arthur are a focus of our enforcement efforts as they have been hit hard by air pollution," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "By working with EPA, Flint Hills has advanced new air pollution controls that will help EPA bring similar air quality improvements to other American communities. EPA will continue to focus on tough pollution controls and cutting edge technologies in order to reduce the burden of air pollution on Americans who need it most."

According to DOJ, the settlement requires FHRs to operate state‑of‑the‑art equipment to recover and recycle waste gases and to ensure gases sent to flares are burned with 98 percent efficiency.

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