In settlement, ExxonMobil agrees to improve pollution control at - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

In settlement, ExxonMobil agrees to improve pollution control at Baton Rouge, Texas plants

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Exxon Mobile / Courtesy of MGN Online Exxon Mobile / Courtesy of MGN Online
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ExxonMobil has agreed to pay a penalty and improve pollution control at three Baton Rouge plants as part of a settlement with federal authorities who accused the company of violating the Clean Air Act, The Advocate reported.

Tuesday, regulators said the company spewed unlawful amounts of chemicals linked to cancer and smog at eight facilities in Louisiana and Texas.

Evidence indicates problems at the sites — including the Baton Rouge chemical, polyolefins and plastics plants — date back to around 2005 or 2006, officials said.

Harmful pollutants were not properly burned off through the facilities' flares, Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Assistant Administrator Patrick Traylor said in a conference call with reporters.

That caused the release of substances that contribute to ozone, or smog. It also allowed the release of chemicals such as the carcinogen benzene which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, causes "cells not to work correctly. For example, it can cause bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. Also, it can damage the immune system by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells." It can also have "adverse reproductive effects in women," the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release announcing the settlement.

DOJ had alleged that the emissions violated the federal Clean Air Act. ExxonMobil is required under the settlement to install new air pollution control and monitoring measures at an estimated cost of approximately $300 million.

The company must also pay a $2.5 million civil penalty and perform $2.5 million in environmental projects. That will include $1 million to plant trees in Texas and $1.5 million to buy a mobile air quality monitoring vehicle for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

Read the full story at The Advocate.

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