Settlement with US government compels firm to improve emissions control and monitoring at eight chemical plants

Oil giant ExxonMobil will spend approximately $300 million (£226 million) to eliminate thousands of tons of air pollution from eight of its petrochemical manufacturing facilities in Texas and Louisiana, US, under a settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

The agreement – reached between ExxonMobil, DOJ, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Louisiana department of environmental quality – resolves allegations that the corporation violated the Clean Air Act by failing to properly operate and monitor industrial flares at its chemical plants. This resulted in excessive and unlawful emissions of chemicals linked to cancer and smog at the ExxonMobil facilities.

Now, the company has agreed to install and operate air pollution control and monitoring technology to cut harmful air pollution from 26 industrial flares at the eight plants. These flares are used to burn waste gases that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere during operations. It is estimated that the controls, once fully implemented, will reduce air emissions of volatile organic compounds by more than 7000 tons/year. The settlement is also expected to reduce toxic air pollutants, including benzene, by more than 1500 tons annually. Its overall aim is to improve Exxon’s flaring practices by requiring the company to curtail how much waste gas is sent to the flares, and to improve their combustion efficiency.