December 14, 2010
On behalf of clients Sierra Club and Environment Texas, co-Counsel Hilder & Associates, P.C. filed suit against ExxonMobile to stop illegal air emissions at the Baytown Refinery Complex. Click for Suit
Sierra Club and Environment Texas filed a lawsuit today in federal district court against ExxonMobil Corporation and two subsidiaries to enforce thousands of violations of the Clean Air Act at the nation’s largest oil refinery and chemical plant complex, located in Baytown, Texas.
This is the groups’ third federal lawsuit in three years targeting illegal air emissions in the Houston area arising from so-called “upset” events. It follows on the heels of ground-breaking settlements with Shell Oil Company, which paid a $5.8 million penalty and agreed to upgrade its Deer Park refinery and chemical plant, and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, which has agreed to pay a $2 million penalty and upgrade its Cedar Bayou Chemical Plant once the settlement is approved by a federal judge.
The groups say emissions from upsets at Exxon’s Baytown complex exceed those in the Shell and Chevron Phillips cases combined: over eight million pounds of pollution in the past five years alone, including toxic chemicals such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene, and large releases of hydrogen chloride, a severe respiratory irritant.
The Clean Air Act contains a “citizen suit” provision that allows private citizens affected by violations of the law to bring an enforcement suit in federal court if state and federal regulators do not.
The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring ExxonMobil to end its Clean Air Act violations. In addition, ExxonMobil faces civil penalties of up to $37,500 per day for each violation of the Clean Air Act.