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Calumet Shreveport fined by EPA for numerous air quality violations

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Calumet Lubricants in Shreveport fined by the Environmental Protection Agency for air quality violations. Calumet Lubricants in Shreveport fined by the Environmental Protection Agency for air quality violations.
SHREVEPORT, La. -

A Shreveport plant is facing hefty fines and policy changes after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered numerous air quality violations during a recent unannounced visit.

According to a statement from the EPA, Calumet Shreveport Lubricant and Waxes, L.L.C., plant will expand a fence-line monitoring system to increase awareness of toxic air releases.

The crude refinery and petroleum products facility will also pay a civil penalty of $326,000 to settle nine violations of the Clean Air Act's (CAA) Risk Management Program uncovered by the EPA.

From Aug. 15-18, 2011, EPA conducted an unannounced inspection and discovered numerous violations related to past explosions and the facility's emergency response program.

"This settlement helps make available useful information in the event of future releases," said Ron Curry, EPA's Regional Administrator. "Our goal is to safeguard worker health and nearby communities by ensuring Calumet takes the necessary steps to improve safety and practices."

Under the settlement, Calumet has agreed to install a fence-line monitoring system, Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP), with a value of at least $248,000.

The system will include 32 additional sensors covering all sides of the perimeter of the facility and monitor for hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and flammable gas lower explosive limit.

But nearby resident, Velma White, who formed the group Residents for Air Neutralization, says she's not giving up the fight to hold Calumet responsible for what she descibes as health issues that are a result of the plant's emissions.

"If these chemicals are going to continue to be in our air, then putting those monitors there is not going to solve the problem for us and our health. Our children, that's the most important thing to me is those kids that are growing up in this type of environment," White says.

Calumet released the following statement in response to the EPA findings:

"In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a detailed evaluation of the Risk Management Program at Calumet's Shreveport, Louisiana refinery. As a result of this inspection, Calumet has adopted supplemental measures to help further ensure that our employees and local community are properly protected from potential chemical releases through a series of preventative measures, including the installation of a fence-line monitoring system that will monitor air quality in and around the refinery. Calumet appreciates the support of its friends and neighbors in the local community and looks forward to operating the Shreveport refinery with an emphasis on safety, reliability and environmental responsibility."

Calumet will also continue to host quarterly community meetings with local citizens to discuss environmental concerns and the results of the fence-line monitoring.

The facility is required to pay the penalty within 30 days of filing the consent agreement.

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