SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — ConocoPhillips Co. has agreed to spend $10 million on emission-cutting efforts and shutter a small facility in exchange for Attorney General Jerry Brown dropping his opposition to the company's plan for a hydrogen fuel plant in the Bay Area.
Brown announced the settlement agreement Tuesday.
Rather than battle the appeal and face a potential lawsuit, the oil company agreed to donate $7 million to a new state fund to pay for emission-reducing science projects. The Houston-based company also agreed to contribute $2.8 million to the California Wildlife ReLeaf Fund for tree planting. It also plans to contribute $200,000 to the Audubon Society to help repair the polluted San Pablo Bay, Brown said.
Under the settlement agreement, ConocoPhillips also will shutter its Santa Maria plant by the end of the year. It plans to hire consultants to advise it how to reduce emissions in California.
Brown in May appealed an approval of the hydrogen fuel project by Contra Costa County's planning commission, arguing officials there failed to address potential greenhouse emissions.
Brown recently settled a lawsuit against San Bernadino County in California and has criticized Richmond, Calif., planners for their review of a Chevron Corp. project in that city.
A call Tuesday to ConocoPhillips was not immediately returned.
''This agreement is a major initial step in the battle against global warming,'' said Brown, who added that it's the first time an oil company agreed to an emission-offset plan.
Many scientists blame the buildup of carbon dioxide and other industrial gases for heating the atmosphere like a greenhouse.
While carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas, amounts of it have been increasing sharply since the beginning of the industrial age. It is produced by fossil fuels burned in manufacturing plants, motor vehicles and power plants.