March 17, 2005
Officials with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and
BP West Coast Products LLC jointly announced today that they have agreed to
settle a lawsuit filed by the AQMD against BP and its predecessor, Atlantic
Richfield Company (ARCO), regarding past air quality rule violations at the
company’s Carson, Calif., refinery. Under the terms of the settlement, BP
will pay the agency $25 million in cash penalties and $6 million in past
“This historic settlement resolves the significant and numerous
violations found at the Carson refinery. The substantial penalty and other
terms are consistent with the AQMD’s intent to vigorously pursue compliance
with all of its regulations and procedures,” said Dr. William Burke, AQMD’s
Governing Board Chairman.
“We are pleased to have resolved this dispute and look forward to forging
a strong partnership with the AQMD for the future,” said Ross Pillari,
President of BP America, Inc. “This settlement allows the parties to put
past disputes behind them and work towards a common goal of making BP’s
Carson refinery a model citizen in the community.”
AQMD filed its initial complaint in March 2003. A second complaint was
filed in January 2005. The settlement resolves all issues in the two
complaints, including claims of inadequate inspection and maintenance of
large above-ground storage tanks, failure to adequately perform flare data
collection, inconsistencies in refinery record-keeping, and numerous air
emission releases into the surrounding community from the refinery during
The $25 million in cash penalties is the largest such settlement with
AQMD to date. Previous settlements included AES Alamitos, LLC for $17
million in December 2000 for excess power plant emissions.
“The AQMD and BP have a common goal of improving performance at the
Carson refinery and benefiting the communities in which we operate,” added
Pillari. “To underscore this commitment, BP is providing $30 million over
ten years in community programs directed at asthma diagnosis and treatment,
and $20 million in new refinery improvements aimed at reducing emissions.”
Lastly, as part of a commitment BP gave to the AQMD last year, BP is
undertaking a program to upgrade the refinery’s existing sour water system.
This equipment was the source of odor allegations in the March 2003
complaint. These improvements, expected to be completed in 2006, are
designed to prevent future releases.
“All these projects will advance the District’s mission of protecting the
health and welfare of residents in the community around the Carson refinery
and improving air quality in the South Coast Basin,” added Dr. William
AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major
portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties.
BP West Coast Products LLC operates the Carson refinery located at 1801
East Sepulveda Boulevard in Carson, California.