BP to pay $2.75 million for air pollution violations in northern Indiana

HAMMOND, Ind. - BP has agreed to pay $2.75 million to resolve a 2019 lawsuit in which the company was accused of violating legal limits on deadly air pollution at its Whiting Refinery near Lake Michigan.

The Sierra Club, a grassroots environmental organization, sued BP after nine emissions tests on the oil refinery's smokestack, taken between August 3, 2015 and October 9, 2019, found violations of permitted levels of microscopic soot-like particles.

These particles, called PM10, can trigger heart and asthma attacks, according to the Environmental Integrity Project.

In April 2021, a judge ruled that BP did violate emissions limits and was liable under the federal Clean Air Act.

Shortly after, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management issued a modified air pollution control permit for BP's plant in Whiting.

The settlement agreement between BP and the Sierra Club was submitted on Thursday and now has to be approved by the judge in the case.

BP must may $1.75 million in civil penalties to be used for Clean Air Act enforcement and $1 million to third parties to implement environmental projects aimed at improving local health.

In return, the Sierra Club will dismiss the lawsuit.

The BP Whiting refinery was built in 1889 by Standard Oil.

It stretches over 1,400 acres in Whiting, East Chicago, and Hammond.

Click here to read the full settlement agreement. 

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