Murphy Oil Settles CAA Violations at Louisiana, Wisconsin Refineries

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Justice Department announced that Murphy Oil USA has agreed to pay a $1.25 million civil penalty to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act at its petroleum refineries in Meraux, La. and Superior, Wis.

As part of the settlement, the company will spend more than $142 million to install new and upgraded pollution reduction equipment at the refineries and also spend $1.5 million on a supplemental environmental project.

“EPA is committed to reducing toxic air pollution from sources that have an impact on the health of communities,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This settlement, which is the result of cooperative efforts by state and federal officials in both states, is good news for the residents of communities living near these refineries, who will be able to breathe easier knowing that the air in their communities will be cleaner.”

The new air pollution control technologies and other measures to be implemented at both refineries will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) by nearly 1,400 tons per year once all controls are installed. The settlement will reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter and carbon monoxide. These pollutants can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma, among other adverse health effects.

As a supplemental environmental project, Murphy will install covers on two wastewater tanks at the Meraux refinery to reduce odors and control VOC emissions. Murphy will install and operate an ambient air monitoring station in the community adjacent to the Meraux refinery, as well as other community-based projects to track emissions.

Murphy had previously entered into a settlement at its Superior, Wis. refinery in 2002, after a 10-day trial in which the company was found to have violated requirements of the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review program, among other statute requirements. This settlement will replace the existing 2002 settlement.

Now, 104 refineries operating in 31 states and territories are covered by global settlements, representing more than 90 percent of the nation’s refining capacity. The first of EPA’s comprehensive refinery settlements was reached in 2000.

The states of Wisconsin and Louisiana actively participated in the settlement with Murphy, which was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.