Judge orders Exxon to pay $20M in air emmissions suit

A federal judge in Houston has ordered Exxon Mobil to pay a nearly $20 million civil penalty for releasing 10 million pounds of pollutants into the air from its Baytown refining and chemical complex from 2005 to 2013.

In a Wednesday ruling, U.S. District Judge David Hittner said evidence showed the Texas oil company’s emissions had put it in violation of the Clean Air Act 16,386 times.

The environmental groups Sierra Club and Environment Texas Citizen Lobby filed suit against Exxon in 2010, but the district court ruled in the company’s favor four years later. Last year, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Hittner’s original decision and ordered him to reconsider various aspects of the case.

In a 101-page ruling, Hittner accepted the plaintiffs’ argument that Exxon collected more than $14.2 million in so-called economic benefits by delaying actions that would have curbed the emissions.

“This penalty should send a message that it doesn’t pay to illegally pollute,” said David Nicholas, a Massachusetts attorney who represented the plaintiff.

Read the rest at Houston Chronicle’s Fuel Fix.  http://fuelfix.com/blog/2017/04/26/judge-orders-exxon-to-pay-20m-in-emissions-suit/