The California Air Resources Board announced Monday that two petroleum product suppliers that operate at the Port of Los Angeles were ordered to pay fines totaling more than $1 million for failure to comply with California air quality regulations.
George E. Warren Corp. and Shell Pipeline Co. were fined $735,000 and $300,000, respectively, according to the Air Resources Board.
“The fuel violation was discovered during a routine sampling audit of an import marine vessel at the Port of Los Angeles,” according to a CARB statement. “California Air Resources Board inspectors determined approximately 11 million gallons of motor fuel imported by George E. Warren Corp. had exceeded the threshold concentration of olefins allowed under the California Reformulated Gasoline Regulation.”
Olefins are a type of hydrocarbon that readily reacts with sunlight to form smog. By reducing the olefin content of gasoline, the amount of smog formed and the amount of a toxic compound in exhaust emissions are reduced, according to the Air Resources Board.
The fuel imported at Shell Pipeline Co. facilities had been distributed to five separate bulk terminals downstream of the original import location, and to several retail service stations.
“Companies must demonstrate that their products will not result in excess emissions into our air,” said California Air Resources Board Enforcement Division Chief Todd Sax. “Periodic testing of fuel by companies and inspections by CARB ensure that Californians will not be exposed to harmful air pollutants.”
Once they were made aware of the noncompliant fuel, George E. Warren and Shell Pipeline “took prompt action to halt all movement and sales of the fuel,” according to CARB, which estimates that about 1.3 million gallons of affected fuel was sold at retail stations.
Once CARB determined the fuel was re-blended and in compliance, sales were allowed to continue.
To resolve the violations, George E. Warren and Shell Pipeline agreed to pay the combined total of $1,035,000 and to offset $501,327 of the settlement by funding eight Supplemental Environmental Projects, which include air filtration, health and air pollution research, community air monitoring, and identification of diesel pollution hotspots, in San Joaquin Valley and San Diego disadvantaged communities, according to CARB.