ExxonMobil agrees to $2,329,000 settlement

Jan 10, 2014

Baton Rouge - ExxonMobil will pay $2,329,000 to fund beneficial environmental projects (BEPs) and a spill countermeasures program and to pay civil penalties to DEQ under a settlement agreement finalized Jan. 9. In December 2013, DEQ received concurrence from the Louisiana Attorney General Office’s on the terms and conditions of the agreement. The AG’s office also approved DEQ responses to public comments, which were provided Dec. 13, 2012.

As part of the final settlement agreement, ExxonMobil will make a civil penalty payment of $300,000 to DEQ, fund beneficial environmental projects (BEPs) totaling $1,029,000 and spend no less than $1 million dollars on Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) projects at its Baton Rouge Complex.

The following BEPs are approved as part of the settlement agreement: Groundwater Reduction Project to reduce the company’s groundwater usage ($400,000); a donation to DEQ to improve the Early Warning Organic Chemical Detection System ($250,000); a donation to Baton Rouge Green Association Inc.’s NeighborWoods project ($25,000); a donation to EBR Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness/Local Emergency Planning Committee to implement the ExxonMobil North Baton Rouge Emergency Preparedness Initiative ($100,000); installation of a meteorological station at the company’s Baton Rouge Refinery Complex ($25,000); a donation to DEQ to fund the Expanded Age Distribution and Vehicle Population Data Project ($50,000); a donation to Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge (RBTBR) ($100,000); and a donation to the Louisiana Foundation for Excellence in Science, Technology and Education (LaFESTE) for the Baton Rouge Clean Air Coalition ($29,000) and a donation to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to fund awareness and education programs for groundwater conservation opportunities in East Baton Rouge Parish.

The agreement came after the agency issued a series of compliance orders and penalty notices dating back to 2008. Among the violations for which the agency cited ExxonMobil were chemical releases and spills in addition to other operational violations. The settlement addresses violations that occurred at the four of the company’s facilities; the refinery, the resin finishing plant and the chemical plant in East Baton Rouge Parish, and at the tank farm facility in West Baton Rouge Parish. The Settlement Agreement also contains a Stipulated Penalty Agreement, designed to assist in the timely assessment of penalties for certain violations reported to DEQ by ExxonMobil. The Settlement Agreement outlines deadlines and requires ExxonMobil to keep DEQ apprised of its progress as it fulfills its obligations under the settlement.

“This settlement agreement represents more than just a fine,” said Cheryl Nolan, DEQ Assistant Secretary in the Office of Environmental Compliance. “The goal of the Settlement Agreement is to eliminate or minimize impacts to the environment and to reduce or avoid impact to human health and/or the environment from future incidents. Additionally, the BEPs will benefit the local community.”