HOUSTON – ExxonMobil was fined more than $21 million for Clean Air Act violations at its Baytown plant, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Judge David Hittner ruled that ExxonMobil was assessed penalties of $21,374,910. Court documents state ExxonMobil paid more than $1.4 million in penalties assessed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Harris County, so the company will have to pay a net penalty of $19,951,278.
The lawsuit, originally filed in 2010 by Environment Texas Citizen Lobby, Inc. and the Sierra Club, claimed unauthorized air emissions from the Baytown refinery and chemical plant between October 2005 and September 2013.
The judge ruled that the company delayed improvement projects and reaped an economic benefit of more than $14 million during that time.
ExxonMobil will also have to pay attorney fees to the plaintiffs.
The company released a statement that read, "We disagree with the court’s decision and the award of any penalty. As the court expressed in its decision, ExxonMobil’s full compliance history and good faith efforts to comply weigh against assessing any penalty. We will consider legal options including appeal of the court’s decision."
The judge denied the plaintiffs' requests to appoint a "special master" to monitor emissions at the plant and an injunction against the plant.