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Energy & Environment

ExxonMobil Reaches $600,000 Settlement With EPA, DOJ

After a deadly accident, environmental advocates say the civil penalty is little more than a slap on the wrist.

ExxonMobil Building, ExxonMobil offices in Downtown Houston
Public Domain
ExxonMobil Building, ExxonMobil offices in Downtown Houston

The EPA and the Department of Justice have reached a $600,000 settlement with ExxonMobil over violations of the federal Clean Air Act. The civil penalty stems from an accident at the company's Beaumont refinery in 2013 that killed two workers.

"As the incident at ExxonMobil's facility shows, failing to comply with these rules can have devastating consequences," said EPA Regional Administrator Anne Idsal.

The settlement also requires the company to purchase a $700,000 hazardous materials vehicle for the Beaumont fire department and hire a third-party auditor to conduct a compliance audit.

"Exxon had procedures in place to prevent that, they just didn't follow them," Eric Schaeffer, the head of the Environmental Integrity Project, said. "And when you find that a company's not even following its own procedures to keep these kinds of accidents from happening, I think you need to hit them pretty hard to get them to take those obligations seriously."

In 2017, a federal court in Houston ruled against Exxon-Mobil in a pollution lawsuit filed by environmentalists. The energy company was fined nearly $20 million for violating the Clean Air Act at its Baytown facility.

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