The owner of the second largest petroleum refinery in the United States has agreed to pay a $5.375 million civil penalty and spend more than $700 million on upgraded pollution controls and monitoring to settle several alleged Clean Air Act (CAA) violations at its facility in the Virgin Islands.United States v. HOVENSA L.L.C., No. 11-00006 (D. Virgin Is. lodged 1/26/11).

The proposed consent decree would require the company to install updated pollution controls for emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and carbon monoxide at its refinery in St. Croix. It would also require the company to increase pollution monitoring, comply with emissions limits for flares and reduce fugitive emissions of benzene. In addition to the civil penalty and pollution-control expenses, the company agreed to spend $4.875 million on environmental improvement projects in the Virgin Islands.

In a civil complaint filed with the proposed consent decree, the government alleged that the company violated the CAA’s prevention of significant deterioration requirements when it modified its fluid catalytic cracking unit catalyst regenerator, process heaters and boilers without obtaining the necessary permits. The complaint also alleges that the refinery violated the new source performance standards for sulfur recovery plants, fuel gas combustion devices and fluid catalytic cracking unit regenerators, along with other CAA violations. The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day comment period and court approval.