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Shell to pay more than $118 million for alleged pollution - DOJ

HOUSTON -- Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to pay more than $118 million to resolve allegations that its refinery and chemical plant near Houston emitted harmful amounts of benzene and other air pollutants, the Justice Department said.

Shell Oil and its affiliates were accused of violating the Clean Air Act by improperly operating its steam-operated flaring devices at a large refinery and plant in Deer Park, Texas.

A representative from the company was not immediately available for comment.

Shell will spend $100 million on technology to reduce pollution from flares, which burn waste gases. The company is required to minimize flaring by recycling waste gases, and to improve the efficiency of its flaring.

The steps are expected to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, benzene and other pollutants by 4,550 tons a year or more, as well as reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

The company has also agreed to spend $15 million to $60 million to modify its wastewater treatment plant, repair tanks and enhance monitoring efforts at its benzene production unit.

As part of the agreement, Shell will also spend $200,000 to retrofit equipment to reduce diesel emissions from government-owned vehicles in the area. It will pay another $1 million to monitor benzene levels at the fenceline of its plant that neighbors a residential area.

The company also agreed to pay a $2.6 million civil penalty.

Chronic exposure to benzene, a carcinogen, can cause leukemia and reproductive problems in women.

The company' s American depositary shares were up 58 cents at $65.14 in recent trading. The stock is down 5.5% since the start of the year.

Dow Jones Newswires



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