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Toxic flaring at Shell/Motiva continues after equipment failure

The $500,000 settlement is an accumulated penalty for violations that occurred during the years 2003-2010. During that time there were 265 violations at the Norco facility (and more than 140 violations at the Motiva refinery in Convent)

3 December 2012

An equipment failure at the Shell/Motiva manufacturing complex in Norco caused the release of unknown amounts of butadiene, hydrogen sulfide and benzene, according to a report submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center.

The elevated flaring, which began Sunday and caused a smoky backdrop to Norco’s annual Christmas Parade, has continued throughout Monday. The company says they are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

“We also continue to conduct extensive monitoring around the site and in the community,” the statement said. “No injuries have been reported associated with this situation, and air monitoring results indicate no environmental impact at this time.”

In October, the Motiva refineries in Norco and Convent agreed to a tentative settlement with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for hundreds of violations of the Clean Air Act.

The $500,000 settlement is an accumulated penalty for violations that occurred during the years 2003-2010. During that time there were 265 violations at the Norco facility (and more than 140 violations at the Motiva refinery in Convent) including the failure by Motiva to file the appropriate application for changes made to its Catalytic Cracking Unit (CCU) that resulted in more pollution being emitted into the local environment.

Motiva is accused of not going through a required review despite knowing that changes to the CCU would result in increased emissions.

In 2008 Motiva was found by the Environmental Protection Agency to be a chronically non-complying facility and put on an internal watch list for that organization.

Related News Article:

• Motiva slapped with $500,000 fine

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