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BP agrees to $500K penalty, soot limits at Whiting, Indiana oil refinery

The U.S. District Court settlement modifies a previous consent decree that required BP Products North America Inc. to limit releases from the sprawling facility on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan.

Posted: Dec 3, 2021 4:41 PM

WHITING, Ind. (AP) — Oil giant BP agreed Thursday to pay a $512,450 penalty and reduce soot emissions from its Whiting refinery in Indiana under an agreement with regulators and activists who accused the company of violating an earlier deal.

The U.S. District Court settlement modifies a previous consent decree that required BP Products North America Inc. to limit releases from the sprawling facility on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan.

“Today’s agreement should significantly reduce fine particle pollution from BP’s refinery and ensure that violations of emission limits are reported and quickly corrected,” said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project and a former enforcement director with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The refinery 15 miles southeast of Chicago converts around 440,000 barrels of crude oil daily into gasoline, other fuels and asphalt.

It covers 1,400 acres in Whiting, East Chicago, and Hammond, Indiana, which are largely communities of color.

Built originally by Standard Oil in 1889, it’s the largest refinery in the Midwest, the sixth-largest in the U.S. and BP’s biggest worldwide.

Its high-temperature processing units release tiny “particulate matter,” or soot, which is linked to asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.

Environmental groups sued the company in 2008. A 2012 settlement involving six groups, EPA and Indiana required the refinery to meet emissions limits, with compliance measured through periodic stack tests.

Environmentalists filed another suit in 2019, saying the refinery had exceeded the limits numerous times and failed repeatedly to operate pollution control equipment as required.

Under the latest agreement, BP agreed to conduct stack tests at least once every six months and make sure the results are accurate; report and fix control equipment failures; install and operate new analyzing devices; and pay additional penalties for future violations.

“BP is pleased to resolve these issues,” spokeswoman Christina Giannelli said. “We remain committed to safe, reliable and compliant operations at the Whiting Refinery and everywhere we operate.”

Other environmental organizations that joined the lawsuit included the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Sierra Club and Save the Dunes.

“Our fight against BP’s pollution has gone on way longer than it should have,” said Ann Alexander, senior attorney for NRDC. “Let’s hope this settlement is the end of the matter.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1524527

Reported Deaths: 20751
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2077652558
Lake1010411517
Allen946081024
Hamilton73638551
St. Joseph65362761
Elkhart50026632
Vanderburgh48959530
Tippecanoe44411338
Johnson38772527
Hendricks36850462
Porter34709476
Madison29301547
Clark26328328
Vigo25941346
LaPorte23600313
Monroe23478249
Howard22382381
Delaware21877370
Hancock18857220
Bartholomew18433216
Kosciusko18124203
Warrick17207215
Wayne16474303
Floyd16129257
Grant15566299
Morgan14615232
Boone13622138
Noble11983142
Shelby11877152
Dearborn11825113
Henry11771201
Marshall11444171
Dubois11418152
Jackson10772104
Cass10380143
Lawrence10308221
DeKalb10292132
Huntington10277140
Gibson9749126
Montgomery9377144
Knox9162125
Harrison9157117
Whitley886771
Steuben8739105
Jasper8325116
Putnam8306100
Clinton827596
Miami8249135
Jefferson8030127
Wabash7914139
Ripley7278116
Adams6713103
Daviess6661130
Scott663586
White624484
Greene6159112
Clay615275
Decatur6062120
Wells6001120
Jennings600081
Fayette5886122
Posey561648
LaGrange535797
Randolph5171129
Washington511470
Owen5068100
Fountain482580
Spencer457456
Sullivan449866
Starke443986
Fulton440393
Orange435083
Jay419964
Rush418839
Perry397555
Carroll384549
Franklin382850
Vermillion363562
Pike327845
Parke327338
Tipton320675
Blackford275955
Pulaski275375
Newton235461
Brown233556
Benton221521
Crawford220132
Switzerland201414
Martin191822
Warren179522
Union172619
Ohio125216
Unassigned0759

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2496243

Reported Deaths: 31987
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2696772100
Cuyahoga2600613087
Hamilton1742641756
Montgomery1162791651
Summit1084961418
Lucas929121193
Butler82981963
Stark766321431
Lorain63976809
Warren52895489
Mahoning50955930
Lake47462611
Clermont46371452
Delaware40674220
Trumbull39527790
Licking38492416
Medina38487427
Fairfield35469349
Greene33906435
Portage32283366
Clark31960453
Richland29400444
Wood29143301
Allen25702403
Miami23931408
Muskingum23316255
Columbiana22903409
Wayne21965365
Tuscarawas19512428
Erie18531224
Ashtabula18489362
Marion18456235
Scioto17888214
Ross17287260
Pickaway16251181
Hancock16004232
Geauga15456229
Lawrence14746186
Belmont14033248
Union1403384
Huron13838184
Jefferson13519261
Sandusky13180200
Athens12624107
Knox12037201
Seneca11934204
Darke11316202
Ashland11157184
Washington11009172
Auglaize10785147
Crawford10333178
Shelby10308160
Brown9972145
Fulton9661154
Highland9632151
Guernsey9612122
Defiance9486137
Logan9403147
Clinton9299132
Mercer9015112
Madison8971111
Preble8428170
Williams8263138
Putnam8024136
Champaign7974113
Ottawa7909123
Jackson7763121
Perry7415102
Coshocton7345136
Morrow723984
Fayette703292
Pike658489
Hardin6532133
Gallia634391
Adams6159127
Van Wert6025121
Henry598196
Hocking5835105
Wyandot498894
Carroll4961101
Holmes4857167
Paulding421665
Meigs397774
Monroe313868
Harrison296362
Noble295652
Morgan289448
Vinton254646
Unassigned08
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