DALLAS (AP) — Exxon Mobil is settling air pollution cases with the Trump administration by paying a $2.5 million civil penalty and promising to spend $300 million on pollution-control technology at several plants along the Gulf Coast.
Federal officials said Tuesday that the settlement will prevent thousands of tons of future pollution, including cancer-causing benzene, from eight petrochemical plants in Texas and Louisiana.
The settlement ends allegations that Exxon violated the federal Clean Air Act by releasing excess harmful pollution after it modified systems that burn off, or flare, waste gas. The allegations date back more than a decade.
Exxon says it will install and operate pollution-control and monitoring technology at five petrochemical plants in Baytown, Beaumont and Mont Belvieu, Texas, and three in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Exxon will also monitor for benzene outside four of the plants and spend $1 million to plant trees in Baytown.
The Justice Department and the state of Colorado announced a smaller settlement over pollution charges against Denver-based PDC Energy Inc. The company will spend about $20 million to upgrade equipment and on pay a $2.5 million civil penalty to the federal government and Colorado. Up to $1 million of the state's share can be forgiven if the company performs certain environmental projects.
Patrick Traylor, a former energy industry lawyer hired by new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, said the settlement will allow the companies to continue driving economic growth. He said the administration will enforce environmental laws "with prudence and with excellence."