Shell Oil Products U.S. has paid a $191,000 fine for the release of pollutants from its Shell Puget Sound Refinery north of Seattle in Skagit County.

The fine comes via a legal settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to resolve federal Clean Air Act violations, The Skagit Valley Herald reported.

THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR:

During refinery maintenance on Feb. 20, 2015, several operating procedures were violated, resulting in the release of about 700 pounds of pollutants. Hydrogen sulfide, dimethyl sulfide, mercaptans, pyrophoric iron and benzene were released over a period of more than three hours.

THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR:

The emissions sickened many in surrounding areas, including on the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community reservation to the south, and some sought medical attention.

The settlement agreement, filed in late 2020, says more than 550 people on the reservation and in surrounding areas were impacted by the emissions with some reporting symptoms from coughing to nausea, headaches, chest and lung pains.

“The health of the Swinomish Tribal Community is my top priority, and that starts with ensuring we all have clean air to breathe,” Swinomish Tribal Chairman Steve Edwards said in a news release welcoming the fine. “We are glad to see the EPA take action to hold Shell Oil accountable for its violations of air pollution laws.”

Shell has also corrected issues with its risk management plan and implementation to prevent, detect and minimize accidental air emissions, according to a Wednesday EPA news release.

With previous fines paid to the Northwest Clean Air Agency and the Washington Safety and Health Agency, Shell has now paid about $600,000 for the incident.

A more recent emissions incident, on Sept. 29, 2020, remains under investigation by the Northwest Clean Air Agency.

THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR:
THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR:

Related Stories

The new production tax credit will only apply to wind farms that begin construction this year.

Broken promises: Cascadia region not on track to cut carbon emissions

To the rest of the world, the United States’ Pacific Northwest and Canada’s British Columbia represent one of the supposedly most eco-friendly regions in North America, if not the globe. Yet on climate change, the governments of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia not only over-promised what they would do to stem the tide but actually underperformed all the other states and provinces.