Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality says Exxon Mobil Corp. has agreed to pay nearly $2.4 million in fines, improvements and other payments to settle violations at Baton Rouge-area plants.
About $2.3 million will resolve violations from 2008 into this year at four plants, including the company’s Baton Rouge refinery, Agency spokeswoman Jean Kelly said in a news release Friday. Another $62,000 is for a release of naphtha in June 2012 at the Baton Rouge Complex, she said.
The naphtha leak prompted the federal Environmental Protection Agency inspect the plant. They found violations including corroded pipes and under-developed emergency procedures.
The settlement includes at least $1 million for beneficial environmental projects and another $1 million in improvements at the Baton Rouge Complex.
It must be approved by the state attorney general’s office before it becomes final.
The agency and Exxon Mobil also agreed to penalties for future pollution, with different amounts for different violations – increasing with time or amount of pollution.
“They know, ‘you do this, this is what you’re going to pay,”‘ Cheryl Nolan, DEQ assistant secretary, told The Advocate.
That means payment will be faster, she said.
Robert Berg, Exxon Mobil’s state regulatory adviser for Louisiana, agreed. “It’s very, very efficient,” he said.
He said incidents will be reviewed annually. “We’re going to do this while it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind,” he said.
Marylee Orr, executive director with Louisiana Environmental Action Network, said proposed contributions to local community projects are good, but the penalty list is really significant.
“With the establishment of stipulated penalties, Louisiana, for the first time ever, has created an objective and transparent system for enforcing environmental regulations,” she said.
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