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Environment Texas Citizen Lobby, Inc. v. ExxonMobil Corp.

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20277
Nos. H-10-4969, (S.D. Tex., 12/17/2014) (Hittner, J.)

A district court dismissed individuals' CAA citizen suit against an oil company for emission violations at the company's refinery, olefins plant, and chemical plant in Baytown, Texas. It is undisputed the company violated some emission standards or limitations under its Title V permit. Indeed, it is not possible to operate a facility as large and complex as the company's in a manner that eliminates all emissions events and deviations. But the court ruled that only a few of the events and deviations are actionable under the CAA's citizen suit provision, none of which warranted a penalty. The preponderance of the credible evidence shows that the company made good faith efforts to comply with the CAA. The company made substantial efforts to improve environmental performance and compliance at the site, and there is no credible evidence that any of the events or deviations resulted from a recurring pattern or that improvements could have been made to prevent recurrence. In addition, the company did not receive any economic benefit from not complying, and the evidence does not support a finding that the events and deviations are serious. Accordingly, the company was not assessed a penalty.