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Shell Settles Air Pollution Suit

April 23, 2009, 4:48 PM

The New York Times


The giant oil company Royal Dutch Shell said Thursday that it had reached a $5.8 million settlement over claims of air pollution at its Deer Park refinery near Houston.

The proposed settlement would require Shell to reduce emissions from air pollutants from its plant by 80 percent within three years, upgrade chemical units, and reduce gas flaring.

The agreement is subject to review by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice. It must also be approved by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, where the complaint (PDF) was filed.

Shell was sued last year by Environment Texas and the Sierra Club for violations of the Clean Air Act. The suit alleged more than a thousand cases of illegal pollution at the plant since 2003, releasing a total of five million pounds of air pollutants into the atmosphere, including toxic chemicals like benzene and 1,3-butadiene, as well as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.

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