Press Release

EPA Announces $1.4M Settlement with Sasol Chemicals for Alleged Chemical Accident Prevention Violations at Westlake, LA, Facility

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), April 8, 2024

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized a settlement with Sasol Chemicals (Sasol) over alleged violations of the chemical accident prevention provisions of the Clean Air Act at the company’s facility in Westlake, Louisiana. Under the settlement, Sasol will pay more than $1.4 million in civil penalties and correct violations related to an October 2022 fire at the facility, as well as those found during a compliance evaluation in 2021. The facility is adjacent to the Mossville community, which Administrator Michael Regan visited on his Journey to Justice tour.

The Mossville community has organized and fought for generations to protect their families from environmental impacts to people’s health and EPA is ready to build on that work by holding companies like Sasol accountable,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “Sasol and other industrial polluters must prioritize the safety of the fenceline community and their workers by following all chemical accident-prevention laws.

Residents of the historic community of Mossville, founded by formerly enslaved people in the 1790s, live on the fence line of Sasol Chemicals and close to many other industrial facilities. Families here experience a daily pollution burden from these facilities, and many have been affected by cancer and other serious diseases. Administrator Michael Regan visited Mossville and other environmental justice communities on his Journey to Justice tour to listen to their stories and concerns. Through the resolution of this case, EPA is furthering the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing environmental justice by enforcing stronger safety requirements for industrial facilities and requiring new measures to protect communities.

From January through July 2021, EPA conducted a Virtual Partial Compliance Evaluation (VPCE) of the Sasol facility under chemical accident prevention requirements of the Clean Air Act, including Section 112(r) and the General Duty Clause. On October 15, 2022—during the process to settle alleged violations found during the evaluation—a fire occurred at Sasol that resulted in a shelter-in-place order for the Westlake area. The settlement announced today addresses violations from the evaluation and the fire.

Under the settlement, Sasol will pay a civil penalty of $1,441,712.00. Sasol will also undertake several actions to resolve alleged violations, such as improving systems and procedures to assure timely completion of the Process Hazardous Analysis recommendations, improving inspections and procedures to maintain mechanical integrity of process equipment, addressing and resolving overdue compliance audits findings, improving safety systems designed to detect potential hazards, updating written and operating procedures to ensure the safe conducting of work activities, and improving implementation practices of operating procedures at the facility.

The injunctive relief in the settlement aligns with new amendments to the Risk Management Program announced on March 1, 2024, that require stronger measures for prevention, preparedness, and public transparency. The “Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention Rule” protects the health and safety of all communities by requiring industry to prevent accidental releases of dangerous chemicals that could cause deaths and injuries, damage property and the environment, or require surrounding communities to evacuate or shelter-in-place. The rule requires regulated facilities to perform a safer technologies and alternatives analysis, and in some cases, facilities will be required to implement reliable safeguard measures. Under this settlement, Sasol will develop and implement safe work practices for the pressure testing of related process equipment to avoid further chemical accidental releases like the fire and shelter-in-place that occurred on October 15, 2022.

Improving compliance with Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act Amendments is part of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative of chemical accident risk reduction. Under Section 112(r), EPA publishes regulations and guidance for chemical accident prevention at facilities that use certain hazardous substances. These regulations and guidance are contained in the Risk Management Program rule, which requires facilities that use extremely hazardous substances to develop a Risk Management Plan which:

  • identifies the potential effects of a chemical accident,
  • identifies steps the facility is taking to prevent an accident, and
  • spells out emergency response procedures should an accident occur.

To learn more about the Clean Air Act’s accident prevention provisions, see

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