Marathon Petroleum Agrees to Install Flare Gas Controls at Five Refineries

The settlement filed June 9 in a Detroit federal court amends a 2012 consent decree involving Marathon's flares. When the changes are fully implemented, emissions of VOCs, sulfur dioxides, and nitrogen oxides will be reduced by approximately 1,037 tons per year, according to EPA and the Justice Department.

Marathon Petroleum Company has agreed to make changes to cut air pollution from its petroleum refineries in Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, and Ohio, EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced June 9. The agreement commits Marathon to spending $319 million to install state-of-the-art flare gas recovery systems that capture and recycle gases that would otherwise be flared, and Marathon also will spend $15.55 million on projects to reduce air pollution at three of the plants and pay a civil penalty of $326,500 to the United States.

"This agreement continues the significant pollution reductions achieved under our earlier consent decree with Marathon in 2012," said John C. Cruden, assistant attorney general of DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "All five communities near these refineries will breathe cleaner air as a result of this agreement, and Detroit will see a reduction in flaring at the refinery's fence line."

The settlement filed June 9 in a Detroit federal court amends a 2012 consent decree involving Marathon's flares; when the changes are fully implemented, emissions of VOCs, sulfur dioxides, and nitrogen oxides will be reduced by approximately 1,037 tons per year, according to the federal agencies.

Marathon agreed in 2012 to reduce air pollution from flares by generating less waste gas and by installing equipment designed to make flares burn more efficiently, and that settlement has cut emissions of VOCs and SO2 by more than 5,200 tons per year. The new agreement means Marathon will install seven gas recovery systems at refineries located in Canton, Ohio; Catlettsburg, Ky.; Detroit; Garyville, La.; and Robinson, Ill.

"Marathon will be required to operate these FGRSs at a higher percentage of time than EPA has ever secured in prior enforcement actions. Marathon will also maintain two duplicates of a critical spare part to be delivered immediately to any of these refineries as necessary, to help make sure the FGRSs have minimal downtime. Marathon will also spend approximately $6 million to shut down a flare at the fence line of its Detroit refinery and $9.55 million on projects to reduce NOx emissions at its Canton and Garyville refineries," the announcement states.

"When companies like Marathon install state-of-the-art pollution controls, they reduce air pollution in some of our most vulnerable communities," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "By updating this agreement, we are furthering our commitment to protect communities across the Southeast and the Midwest, especially places like Detroit that are overburdened by pollution."

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. It is available at: www.justice.gov/enrd/.

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