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EPA cites BP's Whiting, Ind., refinery for clean-air violations (6/2)

June 2, 2009

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited BP Products North America Inc. for alleged Clean Air Act violations at the company’s petroleum refinery in Whiting, Ind., according to an EPA press release.

EPA alleges that for calendar years 2003 through 2008 BP failed to manage and treat benzene waste from the facility as required by the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants. The facility’s 2008 report showed that benzene waste was almost 16 times the amount allowed.

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company in federal court. BP has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

Benzene is known to cause cancer in humans. Acute health effects from benzene exposure can include dizziness and lightheadedness; eye, nose and throat irritation; upset stomach and vomiting; irregular heartbeat; convulsions and death. Ecological effects include death in exposed animal, bird and fish populations and death or reduced growth rate in plant life.

Information about EPA Region 5’s air enforcement program is available at http://www.epa.gov/region5/air/enforce/index.html. Potential environmental violations may be reported at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/complaints.