EPA Orders Valero to Improve Chemical Safety Benicia Refinery

Reuters, April 6, 2023

Crude oil refiner Valero Energy Corp (VLO.N) agreed to pay a $1.2 million fine over violations of chemical safety regulations at a California refinery, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday.

The company will also make changes to improve process safety at the refinery, the EPA said in a statement.

After chemical incidents at the Benicia Refinery in 2017 and 2019, a 2019 EPA inspection at the facility identified several areas of noncompliance, including that Valero failed to immediately report releases of hazardous substances and update certain process safety information, the EPA said.

Valero did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Valero has already made several of its promised chemical safety improvements at the refinery, the EPA said.

These improvements include updating and modifying process hazard analyses, modifying operating procedures, modifying reporting policies, and improving employee training, the EPA said. The settlement requires Valero to continue to implement safety improvements through June 2025.

The federal regulation that the EPA says the company violated, the Clean Air Act, requires industrial and chemical facilities that store large amounts of hazardous substances develop a risk management plan to reduce the risk of accidental releases.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh; Additional reporting by Arunima Kumar; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)

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