State Announces Settlement With Chevron Resolving Allegations Of Air Pollution Violations

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TRENTON – Chevron U.S.A. Inc. will pay the state a civil penalty of $231,875 under a joint state-federal settlement that resolves allegations the company violated air pollution control laws at its asphalt refinery in Perth Amboy, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.

Under the settlement agreement, filed in U.S. District Court, Chevron will also pay the federal government a civil penalty of $231,875.

“We are committed to working with DEP to ensure compliance with New Jersey’s air quality and other pollution control laws,” said Chiesa. “This collaborative effort is critical to protecting our environment and preserving the quality of life of New Jersey residents.”

Martin, “We have made clean air a priority issue, targeting air pollution from in-state and out-of-state sources. In particular, DEP is working to address air pollution in urban communities, where residents often deal with the cumulative impact of various sources of pollution.”

A joint complaint filed against Chevron by DEP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleged that Chevron violated both state and federal air quality laws.

Division of Law Director Christopher S. Porrino explained that the complaint also cited Chevron for allegedly violating rules pertaining to leak detection and repair requirements for hazardous air pollutants at the Perth Amboy plant, and for violating conditions of the plant’s Title V air operating permit.

DEP previously issued two Administrative Orders against Chevron and assessed penalties of about $134,000 for violations of the State’s Pollution Control Act between 2005 and 2008. Chevron also was cited for failure to fulfill the conditions of its operating permit, including proper record-keeping related to leaks, inspections and visible flare emissions and installing equipment without first obtaining an operating permit.

The joint settlement agreement announced today resolves both the alleged violations detailed in the joint state-federal Complaint against Chevron, as well as those contained in the two prior Administrative Orders filed on behalf of DEP.

The Crude Unit at Chevron’s Perth Amboy asphalt refining plant is currently closed, although the facility continues to operate on a limited basis as a tank terminal.

Under the settlement agreement, which still must be approved by the U.S. District Court, Chevron will provide enhanced leak detection and repair of valves and pipelines in the event Chevron – or a successor company – restarts operation of the Crude Unit.

It was publicly announced earlier this year that Chevron intended to sell the Perth Amboy facility, including the tank terminal and the asphalt refinery plant.

Deputy Attorney General Scott Dubin, assigned to the Division of Law’s Environmental Enforcement and Homeland Security Section, handled the Chevron matter on behalf of the state.

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