CIEL Statement on Department of Justice and ExxonMobil Settlement on Clean Air Act Violations

October 31, 2017

Yesterday, the Department of Justice and ExxonMobil announced that the two parties reached a settlement for ExxonMobil’s continuous and longstanding violations of Clean Air Act emissions standards. ExxonMobil had been violating these standards at eight plastics and petrochemicals plants across Texas and Louisiana, in some cases as far back as a decade ago. The agreement includes a $2.5 million fine for the company, as well as a commitment by ExxonMobil to install new emissions control technology at the eight plants in question.

CIEL Attorney Steven Feit released the following statement:

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, CIEL and over 170 other organizations called for a just cleanup and reconstruction of Houston and the Gulf Region. We were concerned that the federal and state governments would pour billions of dollars in federal subsidies into fossil fuel and petrochemical companies rather than hold them accountable for the disaster they made worse, both by contributing to climate change and by releasing hazardous pollutants and contaminating communities.

Looks like these fears were well-founded. ExxonMobil just signed a settlement with the Trump Administration to pay a $2.5 million fine for over a decade of air toxics violations at eight plastics and chemicals plants in Texas and Louisiana. Instead of being held accountable for flouting the law and endangering the public, Exxon is getting away with a laughably small fine and a promise to comply with the law in the future, which Exxon’s neighbors had a right to expect from the beginning. Gulf communities deserve better. So do the rest of us.