U.S. EPA fines Tesoro $27.5 million for violations at Martinez refinery
San Francisco Chronicle, by Joel Umanzor, April 27, 2023
Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company, which operates a petroleum refinery in Martinez, will pay a $27.5 million penalty for violating a 2016 consent decree ordering the company to reduce air pollutants, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The company, according to Thursday’s settlement, failed to limit nitrous oxide emissions from July 2018 to May 2020, when authorities said the refinery suspended operations.
Shortly before shutting down refinery operations, Marathon Petroleum Corporation acquired Tesoro’s parent corporation and announced plans to convert the refinery from producing fuels from crude oil to renewable sources such as vegetable oil, according to the EPA.
Prior to the refinery’s operations suspension, the EPA said, Tesoro would produce approximately 161,000 barrels per day and was the fourth largest petroleum refinery in California.
Thursday’s agreement does not prohibit Tesoro from resuming petroleum refining but requires the company to install “specific air pollution control technology” to ensure nitrous oxide limits are met, according to the EPA.
As a result of mitigation, Tesoro has agreed to give up almost all of its nitrous oxide emission trading credits, according to authorities. Companies can receive these credits when they shut down certain equipment and may use the credits to offset emissions from other projects or in trades with other companies
The agreement will modify the 2016 decree while including new requirements that will apply to Tesoro if they choose to reopen the Martinez refinery as a petroleum refinery or renewable fuels plant, according to the EPA.
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- EPA’s 2023 Tesoro Martinez Clean Air Act Settlement Information Sheet
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