Valero Reaches Settlement With U.S. Gov’t

Valero Refining Texas LP has reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency to end allegations that the oil refiner violated the Clear Water Act two years ago, the U.S. EPA reported.

The government alleged Valero spilled 3,400 barrels of oil into the Corpus Christi Ship Channel on June 1, 2006, a channel that is used heavily by barges and other commercial ships.

The EPA said the oil spilled from a containment berm located on the edge of the ship channel at Valero’s Corpus Christi Refinery West Plant. Valero has since removed the berm and the above-ground storage tank from the edge of the ship channel in order to prevent future spills.

Attorneys for Valero did not admit any wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, according to the consent decree.

Under the agreement, filed Tuesday in federal court in Corpus Christi, Valero agreed to pay $1.65 million in civil penalties and invest in an additional environmental project that will cost the company $300,000. The penalty funds will be deposited in the government’s Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

Valero will also design and construct a boat ramp that will aid emergency-response efforts in the vicinity of where the oil spill took place.

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