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U.S. EPA ORDERS UNOCAL TO HALT CONSTRUCTION AT REFINERIES

 SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced that it has ordered Unocal Corp. (NYSE: UCL) to halt its unpermitted construction at its Wilmington and Carson, Calif., oil refineries by 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4. Under federal law, continued work on the construction project beyond Nov. 4 could result in criminal as well as civil action against Unocal.
 "Unocal is violating the law; U.S. EPA will not tolerate it," said David P. Howekamp, director of the air and toxics division for U.S. EPA's western region. "While we support production of reformulated fuels, the rights of the people who live near the refineries must be respected. Construction may not take place until the public has an opportunity to comment and an environmentally protective permit is granted."
 U.S. EPA issued a notice of violation to Unocal on Oct. 22, 1993, informing the company that its construction activities were in violation of the federal Clean Air Act due to Unocal's failure to obtain a permit to construct from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). The order was issued late yesterday because Unocal expressed its intention to continue construction at the facilities despite having received the notice of violation.
 Unocal still faces federal penalties of up to $25,000 per violation for each day it is in violation.
 The federal Clean Air Act requires that all gasoline sold in severely polluted urban areas such as Los Angeles be reformulated to reduce smog producing emissions. All the refineries in the Los Angeles air basin are currently constructing or are planning to construct new facilities to produce reformulated gasoline.
 U.S. EPA believes strongly in the overall basin-wide benefits of the reformulated gasoline program. At the same time, the agency must also ensure that the people of Carson and Wilmington have their legally mandated opportunity to review the project prior to construction. This process ensures that appropriate mitigating meaures are included in the permit to protect these communities from a disproportionate increase in air pollution from the Unocal facilities.
 -0- 10/28/93 R
 /CONTACT: Bill Glenn of U.S. EPA, 415-744-1589
 (UCL)


CO: United States Environmental Protection Agency ST: California IN: ENV OIL SU: EXE

OP -- SF007R -- 8027 10/28/93 14:22 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 28, 1993
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