Shell Oil Refinery at Deer Park.

Houston, TX – Shell Oil Company and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company have cut illegal air pollution from their plants in Deer Park and Baytown, Texas, by a combined 95 percent, marking the successful resolution of Clean Air Act lawsuits filed against the companies in 2009 and 2010 by NELC.

The physical and operational upgrades mandated by the settlement agreements in each case have drastically reduced the frequency of so-called “upset” events—equipment breakdowns, malfunctions and operator errors that release unauthorized quantities of air pollutants that threaten public health and worker safety.

As a result, unpermitted emissions of carcinogens into the air have been almost eliminated at these plants, while emissions of smog-forming compounds and other harmful air pollutants have been slashed dramatically. The nearly $8 million in penalties paid by the two companies have funded local air pollution reduction projects and an environmental health clinic.

“The results achieved through these settlements show that polluters can make dramatic reductions in air pollution if someone requires them to make the effort,” said NELC Senior Attorney Josh Kratka.