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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2004

Contact: Peter Boger
(609) 984-1795

NEW JERSEY ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT OF FEDERAL CLEAN AIR ACT ENFORCEMENT CASE AT PAULSBORO FACILITY

(04/117) Trenton -- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), New Jersey Attorney General's Office, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced a Clean Air Act settlement for CITGO Petroleum Corporation's Paulsboro facility. The settlement calls for emission reductions of air pollutants as well as a $100,000 penalty to be paid to New Jersey.

"This settlement with CITGO will reduce emissions of harmful, smog-causing pollutants and sends another clear message to polluters to clean up their act," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Once again, the McGreevey Administration remains fundamentally committed to protecting public health and the environment in New Jersey."

"This settlement will require CITGO to substantially reduce its emissions of air pollutants that aggravate childhood asthma and contribute to serious respiratory ailments among the elderly," said New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. "Our fight for the environment is making a real difference in the health and quality of life of New Jersey residents."

Under the settlement, CITGO's asphalt refinery in Paulsboro will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by approximately 18 tons per year, as well as implement an enhanced volatile organic compound (VOC) leak detection and repair program and reduce the limits on its VOC emissions. The plant will also have to implement protocols to minimize toxic emissions from benzene waste operations and to burn lower sulfur fuels, which emit less sulfur dioxide and fine particles.

NOx and VOCs contribute to the formation of smog and ground-level ozone, while benzene is an air toxic that is hazardous to human health.

The settlement announced today was a part of a multi-state effort by the EPA and DOJ to reduce emissions from six of CITGO's refineries in five states: New Jersey, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana and Texas. New Jersey's DEP and Attorney General's Office joined the EPA and DOJ in this enforcement action. The settlement resolves an outstanding suit over CITGO's failure to follow the New Source Review rules of the Clean Air Act, which require facilities to install air pollution control technology when they make significant upgrades to a facility.

Today's consent decree was filed in U.S. District Court in Houston, Texas and calls for CITGO to spend an estimated $320 million to upgrade its refineries; it is subject to a public comment period and final court approval.

 

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