BP agrees to $500K penalty, soot limits at Indiana refinery

Dec 2, 2021, 12:20 PM | Updated: 10:02 pm

Oil giant BP agreed Thursday to pay a $512,450 penalty and reduce soot emissions from its Whiting refinery in Indiana under an agreement with regulators and activists who accused the company of violating an earlier deal.

The U.S. District Court settlement modifies a previous consent decree that required BP Products North America Inc. to limit releases from the sprawling facility on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan.

“Today’s agreement should significantly reduce fine particle pollution from BP’s refinery and ensure that violations of emission limits are reported and quickly corrected,” said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project and a former enforcement director with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The refinery 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Chicago converts around 440,000 barrels of crude oil daily into gasoline, other fuels and asphalt. It covers 1,400 acres in Whiting, East Chicago, and Hammond, Indiana, which are largely communities of color.

Built originally by Standard Oil in 1889, it’s the largest refinery in the Midwest, the sixth-largest in the U.S. and BP’s biggest worldwide.

Its high-temperature processing units release tiny “particulate matter,” or soot, which is linked to asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.

Environmental groups sued the company in 2008. A 2012 settlement involving six groups, EPA and Indiana required the refinery to meet emissions limits, with compliance measured through periodic stack tests.

Environmentalists filed another suit in 2019, saying the refinery had exceeded the limits numerous times and failed repeatedly to operate pollution control equipment as required.

Under the latest agreement, BP agreed to conduct stack tests at least once every six months and make sure the results are accurate; report and fix control equipment failures; install and operate new analyzing devices; and pay additional penalties for future violations.

“BP is pleased to resolve these issues,” spokeswoman Christina Giannelli said. “We remain committed to safe, reliable and compliant operations at the Whiting Refinery and everywhere we operate.”

Other environmental organizations that joined the lawsuit included the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Sierra Club and Save the Dunes.

“Our fight against BP’s pollution has gone on way longer than it should have,” said Ann Alexander, senior attorney for NRDC. “Let’s hope this settlement is the end of the matter.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jers...

Associated Press

3rd Republican presidential debate is set for Nov. 8 in Miami, with the strictest qualifications yet

The third Republican presidential debate will be held in Miami on Nov. 8, a day after several states hold off-year elections.

3 days ago

During the equinox, the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get an equal ...

Associated Press

The fall equinox is here. What does that mean?

The equinox arrives on Saturday, marking the start of the fall season for the Northern Hemisphere. But what does that actually mean?

3 days ago

Ray Epps Ray Epps, an Arizona man who became the center of a conspiracy theory about Jan. 6, 2021, ...

Associated Press

Ray Epps, an Arizona man who supported Trump, pleads guilty to Capital riot charge

Ray Epps, the target of a conspiracy theory about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge.

5 days ago

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, to ...

Associated Press

Trump refuses to say in a TV interview how he watched the Jan. 6 attack unfold at the US Capitol

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot.

8 days ago

This frame grab from video, provided by the Mexican government, shows Ovidio Guzman Lopez being det...

Associated Press

Mexico extradites son of ‘El Chapo,’ Ovidio Guzman Lopez to US

The son of notorious cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, Ovidio Guzman Lopez was extradited to the U.S. on Friday.

9 days ago

impeachments in US history...

Associated Press

A look at notable impeachments in US history, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted Saturday on during his impeachment trial. Here's a roundup of impeachments in U.S. history.

9 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.

Sanderson Ford...

Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford congratulates D-backs’ on drive to great first half of 2023

The Arizona Diamondbacks just completed a red-hot first half of the major league season, and Sanderson Ford wants to send its congratulations to the ballclub.



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.

BP agrees to $500K penalty, soot limits at Indiana refinery