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CITGO to pay $737K penalty and implement pollution abatement projects at two refineries

Houston-based CITGO Petroleum Corp. (CITGO) has agreed to pay a $737,000 civil penalty and to implement projects to reduce harmful air pollution, resolving alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) at its petroleum refining facilities located in Lemont, Ill. and Lake Charles (Westlake), La.

In addition to the penalty, the settlement, lodged in US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, requires that CITGO implement projects that are expected to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including toxics, by more than 100 tons over the next five years.

To reduce VOC emissions, including toxics, the settlement requires that CITGO install and maintain a geodesic dome on one of the fuel storage tanks at its Lemont refinery, as well as carbon adsorption systems on two fuel storage tanks at its Lake Charles refinery.

In a complaint filed at the same time as the settlement, EPA alleged that the Lake Charles refinery produced fuel that exceeded the refinery’s annual average emissions limit for mobile source air toxics, including benzene. EPA further alleged that CITGO failed to sample and test reformulated gasoline blendstock at its Lemont refinery, as required by the CAA.

CITGO is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

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