• 73°

Emissions violation drives Chevron Phillips fine

Staff report

Chevron Phillips Chemical must pay a fine of $248,400 for air-quality violations that stem from excessive emissions of volatile organic compounds at its Orange Polyethylene Plant, 5309 Farm-to-Market Road 1006, in 2014-15.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality made the announcement Wednesday.

The complaint said the company failed to comply with its maximum allowable emissions rates from Oct. 11, 2014 to July 11, 2015, exceeding the volatile organic compounds emissions rate by an average of 9.64 pounds per hour for 144 hours; the nitrogen oxides emissions rate by 5.89 pounds per hour for nine hours; and the carbon monoxide emissions rate by an average of 4.25 per hours for four hours.

The result, TCEQ said, was unauthorized release of 1,388 pounds of volatile organic compounds, 53 pounds of nitrogen oxides; and 17 pounds of carbon monoxide.

TCEQ said the company, which disputes the violations, developed and implemented a flare tool in October 2015 to better make sure that emissions don’t exceed limits. It also sought and was granted a permit to increase its annual carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.

TCEQ said Chevron Phillips paid $124,200 of the penalty and $62,100 was deferred pending Chevron Phillips’ “timely and satisfactory compliance” with terms of the order.

In addition, Chevron Phillips will pay $124,200 into a supplemental environmental project — it will be administered by the Houston-Galveston Area Council-AERCO — to replace or retrofit buses that belong to school systems, governments or public transit authorities. The project will benefit air quality or reduce harmful exhaust emissions.

In a second case, TCEQ imposed a fine of $76,500 against Lucite International Inc. for emissions violations at the Lucite Beaumont chemical plant site, 6350 N. Twin City Highway, Nederland. TCEQ said $15,300 of the penalty would be deferred for full and timely compliance.

TCEQ charged that the Lucite plant failed to comply with maximum allowable emissions rates, failed to properly record weekly visible emissions observations and failed to report instances of deviations. Lucite denied the complaints, which involved findings from 2016 and 2017.