ARB Settles Additive Violation Notice with Unocal
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO – The California Air Resources Board today announced that it has received a $2 million settlement for a violation notice filed against the Unocal Corporation for offering fuel for sale that may not have met state motor vehicle gasoline specifications.
The settlement, that includes $2,088,666 in cash and clean air programs, ends the ARB violation notice that was filed after state and Unocal officials determined that the refiner offered gasoline for sale that did not contain enough detergent additive to meet ARB Phase 1 gasoline rules. In addition to adding over $1,500,000 in bulk terminal upgrades to help assure future compliance with ARB clean gasoline specifications, Unocal will pay $125,000 to retire 167 high polluting pre-1975 vehicles. As part of this settlement, the refiner agreed to maximize the air quality benefits of retiring those high emitters by not accepting the environmental pollution credits it normally could have gotten for removing vehicles that can pollute up to 10 times as much as a new car.
The settlement also includes nearly $400,000 in compliance fees, including a $345,666 payment to the state. Those fees are often used to finance air pollution control research programs, such as cleaner-burning fuels or lower polluting engine projects. The remaining $50,000 in compliance fees will be used to establish a scholarship fund at California Polytechnical University, San Luis Obispo.
The ARB's violation notice stemmed from records provided by Unocal that showed that the refiner had supplied gasoline for sale between January 1992 and February 1994 that did not contain enough detergent additives to meet specifications set by the ARB for its 1991 Phase 1 gasoline. Those standards were adopted in 1990 to cut emissions from gasoline by adding detergents, reducing the fuel's evaporative potential and eliminating the final traces of health-threatening lead.
ARB Chairwoman Jacqueline E. Schafer said, "We appreciate Unocal's cooperation for reporting and settling this complaint, however, the two year length of the problem required the ARB to prove that we intend to enforce our rules that protect public health from the threats of poor air quality.
"We have focused on cutting motor vehicle emissions because they are the major cause of California's air pollution and burning cleaner gasoline results in lower emissions from all gasoline-burning engines; not just cars, but recreation vehicles, pleasures boats and lawn and garden equipment," she added.
In 1991, the ARB adopted more extensive specifications for California Phase 2 Gasoline, scheduled to be sold in mid-1996, that cleaner gasoline will cut motor vehicle emissions through changes in eight different specifications. Those changes, including reductions in toxics and highly reactive aromatic hydrocarbons and olefins, will reduce pollution from gasoline-burning engines fuel by as much as 20 percent.