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U.S. EPA, DOJ, finalize $900,000 settlement with ARCO for air violations at Port of Long Beach

Release Date: 10/18/2005
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, (415) 947-4307

ARCO to pay $225,000 fine, reduces emissions, funds $675,000 diesel exhaust reductions program

LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice last Friday settled with ARCO Terminal Services Corporation for air pollution violations at the Port of Long Beach, Calif.

The violations were discovered during routine records reviews of ARCO's emissions reports. The EPA identified 294 violations committed by ATSC between 1995 - 1999 for emitting excessive volatile organic compounds, the components of smog.

"The EPA is ensuring that all emissions sources at ports comply with Clean Air Act requirements" said Wayne Nastri, Regional Administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. "ARCO has agreed to play a role in reducing diesel exhaust at the Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports, setting a positive example and improving air quality in the surrounding communities."

Under the terms of the consent decree - lodged Friday - ARCO Terminal Services Corporation will:

* pay a $225,000 fine;

* use control equipment during all ship loadings at its Long Beach piers to control air pollution consistent with South Coast Air Quality Management District regulations; and

* invest in a $675,000 supplemental environmental project at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to control diesel exhaust from cargo handling equipment, such as fork lifts, rubber tire gantry cranes, and trucks.

The environmental project will result in a reduction of diesel particulate and other pollutants from cargo handling equipment and trucks operating in the surrounding area.

ARCO Terminal Services Corporation owns and operates a marine loading facility in Long Beach, where petroleum products are loaded on and off onto docked marine vessels and later transported to other terminals or refineries for distribution or further processing.

South Coast Air Quality Management District regulations prohibit marine vessel loading of petroleum products in South Californian waters unless volatile organic compound emissions are controlled by 95% or unless volatile organic compounds are below 2 lbs/1000 barrels. The expanded use of emission controls during all ship loadings, required by the settlement, will result in significant decreases of these compounds into the surrounding community.

Excessive volatile organic compounds in the air can lead to ozone formation, also known as smog. The entire Los Angeles Basin, which includes the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, is in severe nonattainment for EPA's national eight hour standard for ozone, which is linked to the onset of asthma in exercising children.

In addition, ozone can damage the respiratory tract, causing inflammation and irritation, and induce symptoms such as coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and worsening of asthma symptoms.

Exposure to volatile organic compounds can also cause eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; and damage to the liver, the kidney, and the central nervous system.

The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have grown significantly in recent years, and emissions related to port activities have also grown. Almost 80% of the on-dock diesel particulate emissions within the port complex are from cargo handling equipment.

For more information on the EPA's Air Office, please visit: