Westlake Chemical plants in LA, KY to reduce air pollution

WESTLAKE, La. (AP) — Three subsidiaries of a Texas-based petrochemical company on Thursday settled allegations that they violated federal and state pollution control laws.

The U.S. Department of Justice, in a press release, said Westlake Chemical Corporation has agreed to upgrades and implement compliance measures estimated at $110 million to resolve the complaint involving two facilities. in Lake Charles, Louisiana and one in Calvert City, Kentucky.

The companies will also pay a civil penalty of $1 million.

According to the complaint, the companies failed to properly operate and monitor their industrial flares, which resulted in excessive emissions at all three facilities, the department said.

The regulations will eliminate thousands of tonnes of air pollution from flares, devices used to burn waste gases that would otherwise be released into the air, he said.

“The significant reductions in the regulation of hazardous and other air pollutants and greenhouse gases will serve to reduce the exposure of vulnerable neighboring communities with environmental justice issues,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Division of Environmental Justice. Environment and Natural Resources Department of Justice.

Acting Deputy Administrator Larry Starfield of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance said the settlement would require Westlake businesses to install pollution control and monitoring emissions at all three facilities, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and other harmful gases by thousands of tons per year. .

“These controls, along with a requirement to monitor benzene emissions on fences and take corrective action when benzene readings are high, will result in significant benefits for local communities in Kentucky and Louisiana,” Starfield said.

The settlement requires all three facilities to install and operate air pollution control and monitoring technology to reduce the flaring of eight flares at the three facilities. When fully implemented, pollution controls are expected to reduce emissions of ozone-forming VOCs by 2,258 tonnes per year and toxic air pollutants, including benzene, by 65 tonnes per year. The regulations are also expected to reduce emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and ethane, by more than 50,733 tonnes per year.

Westlake companies will also conduct air quality monitoring designed to detect the presence of benzene at fences at all three facilities. Monitoring results should be published on a publicly accessible website, providing nearby communities with more information about their air quality.

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.