SETTLEMENT WITH HESS CALLS FOR MAJOR REFINERY UPGRADES;
A MAJOR WIN FOR CLEAN AIR IN NEW JERSEY
(12/P49) TRENTON - Under the terms of a legal settlement announced today, the Hess Corporation is expected to make about $45 million in pollution control upgrades at its Port Reading oil refinery near Woodbridge, dramatically reducing polluting emissions and leading to a marked improvement in air quality for the region, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said today.
Hess also will pay an $850,000 civil penalty to resolve federal Clean Air Act violations at the refinery as part of the settlement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Justice, and the DEP. The settlement is the result of a negotiated agreement with Hess.
“The Christie Administration has been aggressively targeting in-state and out-of-state sources of air pollution, to improve the quality of life for residents of our state,’’ said Commissioner Martin. “This settlement is another win for improved air quality for our residents.’’
“It means reduced emissions that will improve the health and welfare of our residents, especially persons living in communities who must deal with cumulative sources of pollution. These air pollutants have adverse impacts on those residents, contributing to asthma and other respiratory ailments. It’s not something we can tolerate.’’
In addition to installing new and improved pollution-control technology at its refinery, Hess also has agreed to more diligently monitor its operation, improve emissions leak detection and repair practices, and to develop stricter emissions limits. That should result in reduced emissions of particulates, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, benzene waste gases, volatile organic compounds, and flaring of acid gases.
Once the emissions controls are fully implemented, the EPA estimates emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) will be cut by 181 tons per year.
“This is an important outcome for the quality of life of New Jersey residents,” said Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa. “We are committed to working with the Department of Environmental Protection to enforce the State’s pollution control and other environmental laws, and to safeguard the health and well-being of New Jersey residents.”
Hess’ Port Reading refinery, which is located in Middlesex County, produces about 70,000 barrels per day of gasoline from refined crude oil. It is the smallest operating refinery in New Jersey, and the last one in the state to agree to make emissions technology improvements. All other refineries have upgraded their emissions controls.
The settlement is the 31st with refineries in 32 states stemming from the EPA’s decade-old Refinery Initiative, aimed at significantly reducing troubling air emissions. New Jersey actively participated in the settlement with Hess, and will split the civil penalty with the EPA.
More information on EPA’s Petroleum Refinery Initiative: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/caa/oil/index.html
The consent decree, lodged together with a civil complaint in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.
More information on the Hess settlement: