Chevron to pay N.J. $231,000 in civil penalty to resolve Perth Amboy plant concerns

TRENTON – Chevron U.S.A. Inc. will pay New Jersey a civil penalty of $231,875 to settle allegations regarding air pollution law violations at an asphalt refinery in Perth Amboy.

The Attorney General and Department of Environmental Protection announced that as part of a joint state-federal settlement, Chevron also will pay the federal government the same amount in a civil penalty.

“This collaborative effort is critical to protecting our environment and preserving the quality of life of New Jersey residents,” said Attorney General Jeff Chiesa in a release.

DEP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had filed a joint complaint alleging that Chevron violated both state and federal air quality laws.

Division of Law Director Christopher S. Porrino explained that the complaint also cited Chevron for allegedly violating rules pertaining to leak detection and repair requirements for hazardous air pollutants at the Perth Amboy plant, and for violating conditions of the plant’s Title V air operating permit.

The Crude Unit at Chevron’s Perth Amboy asphalt refining plant is closed, although the facility continues to operate on a limited basis as a tank terminal, according to the AG’s office.

Under the settlement agreement, which still must be approved by the U.S. District Court, Chevron will provide enhanced leak detection and repair of valves and pipelines in the event Chevron – or a successor company – restarts operation of the Crude Unit, the AG’s office reported.

DEP previously assessed penalties of about $134,000 for violations of the state’s Pollution Control Act between 2005 and 2008. Chevron also was cited for failure to fulfill the conditions of its operating permit, including proper record-keeping related to leaks, inspections and visible flare emissions and installing equipment without first obtaining an operating permit, according to DEP and the AG’s office.

The joint settlement agreement announced today resolves both the alleged violations detailed in the joint state-federal Complaint against Chevron, as well as those contained in the two prior Administrative Orders filed on behalf of DEP.

Chevron to pay N.J. $231,000 in civil penalty to resolve Perth Amboy plant concerns