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Murphy Oil Refining Company Multimedia Civil Judicial Settlement

The Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney's office in Madison, Wisconsin, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Wisconsin Department of Justice on January 24, 2002 announced a settlement with Murphy Oil USA, Inc., which will dramatically cut sulfur dioxide ("SO2") emissions from the company's Superior, WI refinery. The settlement will also improve Murphy Oil's programs to monitor and repair leaks of volatile organic compounds and to prevent oil spills. Murphy will also pay a $5.5 million civil penalty, the largest ever leveled in Wisconsin in an environmental enforcement case; the State of Wisconsin will receive $750,000.

In Orders issued on May 18, 2001, and on August 1, 2001 after a ten-day trial, the court found Murphy Oil liable for substantial violations of Clean Air Act emission limits and permitting requirements as well as water permit, oil spill containment and waste handling requirements. Most importantly, the court ruled that Murphy Oil violated the Clean Air Act when it made major modifications at its refinery without obtaining the required Prevention of Significant Deterioration ("PSD") permits, part of EPA's New Source Review program. Also, that when Murphy Oil obtained a PSD permit exemption from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, it had withheld information knowingly and intentionally and that if it had submitted the withheld materials, they would have been material to the [WDNR's] decision making process.

The consent decree only resolves Clean Air Act New Source Review violations at the sulfur recovery unit-it does not preclude EPA or the State of Wisconsin from investigating and bringing enforcement actions for violations of New Source Review requirements at other units at the refinery, if any.

The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period.

Enforcement Priorities

For additional information, contact:

James Jackson
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2242A)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20460-0001
(202) 564-2002