Chevron to settlement will fund $300K in gear for Honolulu emergency responders
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday a national settlement with Chevron U.S.A. Inc. for violations of the Clean Air Act that will fund about $300,000 in equipment for the Honolulu Department of Emergency Management.
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday a national settlement with Chevron U.S.A. Inc. for
violations of the Clean Air Act that will fund about $300,000 in equipment for the Honolulu Department of Emergency Management.
The more than $160 million settlement requires Chevron to make safety improvements to all its domestic refineries after violating provisions of the act meant to prevent accidental releases of hazardous chemicals with potentially serious consequences for public health and the environment.
Although Chevron sold its Kapolei refinery on Oahu to private equity firm One Rock Capital Partners LP of New York in 2016, the violations occurred during its ownership.
Among the items that Chevron has agreed to purchase and deliver to Hono-
lulu’s Department of Emer-
gency Management are 32 satellite phones and 47 personal radioactivity detectors.
EPA’s initial investigation was spurred by a fire on Aug. 6, 2012, involving the release of high-temperature hydrocarbons at Chevron’s refinery in Richmond, Calif. That fire endangered 19 employees and caused 15,000 local residents to seek medical attention. Contra Costa County officials also had to put a shelter-in-place order in place.
While the EPA’s investigation was underway, Chevron accidentally released regulated chemicals at two other refineries in 2013. An explosion and fire at its refinery
in Pascagoula, Miss., caused the death of employee
Tonya Graddy, and a rupture in its refinery in El Segundo, Calif., caused flaring and a loss of power.
As part of the proposed settlement, Chevron will spend $150 million to replace vulnerable pipes, improve corrosion inspections and conduct a pilot study of safety controls for fired heaters, among numerous other safety improvements at all its domestic refineries.
Chevron also will pay a $2.95 million civil penalty. The $300,000 for Honolulu is part of $10 million that Chevron has agreed to pay for emergency response equipment in the communities surrounding its five refineries in California, Mississippi and Utah, as well as in Hawaii.
The U.S. Department of Justice and state of Mississippi were also plaintiffs in the settlement. The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.
“This case demonstrates the importance of performing equipment inspections and maintenance in accordance with environmental regulations,” said EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance assistant administrator Susan Bodine in a news release. “Under this settlement Chevron U.S.A Inc. will improve their safety systems and monitoring equipment, protecting their employees and the surrounding communities.”