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EL DORADO, Ark. -- The Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney's office in Madison, Wis., the Environmental Protection Agency and the Wisconsin Department of Justice announced a proposed settlement with Murphy Oil USA Inc., which will dramatically cut sulfur dioxide emissions from the company's Superior, Wis. refinery, and will also improve Murphy Oil's programs to monitor and repair leaks of volatile organic compounds and to prevent oil spills.
Murphy will also pay a $5.5 million civil penalty, the largest ever leveled in Wisconsin in an environmental enforcement case; the State of Wisconsin will receive $750,000.
A federal judge last year found Murphy Oil liable for substantial violations of Clean Air Act emission limits and permitting requirements as well as water permit, oil spill containment and waste handling requirements. The judge ruled that Murphy Oil violated the Clean Air Act when it made major modifications at the refinery without obtaining the required Prevention of Significant Deterioration permits, part of EPA's New Source Review program.
Murphy Oil obtained a permit exemption by withholding necessary information from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources when it submitted a permit application. Specifically, the judge ruled that Murphy Oil "withheld information knowingly and intentionally and that if it had submitted the withheld materials, they would have been material to the decision making process."
The new control technologies and programs to be implemented by Murphy Oil at its refinery will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds, both which can cause serious health problems for the young and elderly.