East Bay refineries settle with Bay Area air-quality agency, agree to $20 million in fines for hundreds of violations

After years of litigation, two major Bay Area refineries have agreed to drop their lawsuits against the regional air quality management district and come into compliance with one of the most stringent air quality standards in the country.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced Tuesday that it had come to two separate agreements with the Chevron and the Martinez Refining Company refineries. Both had sued the district in 2021 over Regulation 6-5, a emissions reduction requirement that would require the refineries to drop their emissions of airborne particulate matter by 80% and 70%, respectively.

“Ultimately what they’re agreeing to is what they should have agreed to three years ago, which is comply to with the rule,” said John Gioia, a Contra Costa County supervisor representing Richmond.

As part of the agreement, Chevron submitted to $20 million in fines for 678 violations unrelated to Regulation 6-5 as well as “unprecedented penalties” if they fail to meet the 2026 compliance deadline. The Martinez Refining Company, meanwhile, agreed to use a continuous monitoring system to ensure compliance. Both refineries will pay half of the Air Quality Management District’s attorney fees.

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