One of the worlds largest oil majors BP is likely to face a huge fine for violations in the Gulf of Mexico, but now US energy major Exxon Mobil and two affiliates have agreed to pay a $2.9 million (2.37 million) civil penalty for violation of air pollution laws in Massachusetts.
The judgement requires Exxon Mobil to reduce petrol vapour emissions by updating and improving air pollution control systems at its bulk petrol terminals in Everett and Springfield.
Big oil can no longer marginalize environmental compliance while increasing their petrol sales and distribution in Massachusetts, Laurie Burt, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, says.
Between 1999 and 2001, and without the approval of Massachusetts environmental regulators, Exxon Mobil made changes to the vapour collection and recovery system used to control emissions of volatile organic compounds at its Everett terminal it is alleged.
Changes included the removal of certain emissions controls required under state air permits.
Exxon Mobil also failed to control VOC emissions during the degassing of a storage tank in Everett in 2008.
The state further alleged that Exxon Mobil did not properly control emissions of VOCs from petrol tank trucks during loading operations and failed to comply with emissions monitoring, repair and reporting requirements at both locations.
While Exxon Mobil does not agree with the state on the extent of alleged violations, we have entered into an agreement in an effort to resolve this matter and continue focusing on safe and environmentally responsible operations, Exxon Mobil spokeswoman Patty Errico states.