U.S. Oil Company Hit With Fine By EPA

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NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 19 (UPI) — An oil refining company was hit with a $12 million fine by after admitting to violations of the Clean Air Act in Louisiana, the EPA said.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency announced Texas oil refining company Pelican Refining Co. LLC was sentenced to pay the fine for violating the Clean Air Act and for obstruction of justice in Louisiana.

Pelican admitted in a Louisiana court to knowingly committing criminal violations at its Lake Charles, La., oil refinery. The company, the EPA said, was operating without a budget, an environmental department or environmental manager. Its environmental equipment was either not working or improperly placed into service at the refinery.

“This corporation operated without even the most basic requirements of an environmental compliance plan and endangered the public and its own employees by implementing unsafe practices in violation of its permit and reporting requirements,” said Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.

The fine imposed is the largest of its kind in Louisiana.

Pelican Vice President Byron Hamilton pleaded guilty in July to environmental negligence and faces a one-year prison term.

The Lake Charles violations were discovered in 2006 and the EPA said investigations were ongoing.

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