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Hess Sued by U.S., N.J. Over Air Emissions at Oil Refinery

Hess Corp. was sued by the U.S. and New Jersey governments over air emissions at its petroleum refinery in Port Reading, New Jersey, and is expected to settle the case today, a Justice Department spokesman said.

Hess violated federal and state laws in making a “major modification” to the refinery that resulted in a “significant net emissions increase” of nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulates, according to the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Newark, New Jersey.

A settlement is expected to be filed today, said Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle. Jon Pepper, a Hess spokesman, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The refinery, which has a crude oil capacity of 65,000 barrels a day, was cited for violations at a fluid catalytic cracking unit catalyst regenerator, a sulfur recovery plant, and at flaring devices and heaters and boilers, according to the complaint. New York-based Hess failed to operate those facilities in a “manner consistent with good air pollution control practice” and also failed to comply with benzene waste requirements, government officials said in the complaint.

The complaint, by the U.S. Justice Department’s environmental and natural resources division and New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa, seeks civil penalties of as much as $37,500 a day for the various violations.

The case is U.S. v. Hess Corp., U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

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