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U.S. EPA, MOBIL SETTLE LARGEST CALIFORNIA AIR POLLUTION CASE

 U.S. EPA, MOBIL SETTLE LARGEST CALIFORNIA AIR POLLUTION CASE
 SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced that Mobil Oil Corp. (NYSE: MOB) has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $950,000 to settle allegations that its polystyrene foam manufacturing facility in Bakersfield, Calif., exceeded limits on emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for at least two years. The fine is the largest penalty levied by U.S. EPA for Clean Air Act violations in California.
 "This case sends a strong message that EPA will not allow violations of the Clean Air Act to go unpunished," said David Howekamp, director of the air and toxics division in U.S. EPA's western regional office. "We will continue to aggressively prosecute companies such as Mobil that violate laws enacted to protect human health and the environment."
 Mobil used isopentane, a VOC, as a blowing agent at its Bakersfield plant to make polystyrene foam products such as fast food containers. California's clean air plan required Mobil to control 95 percent of VOC emissions from controllable sources at its plant by January 1, 1983. The plan was approved by U.S. EPA and became federally enforceable in November 1983.
 U.S. EPA inspected the Bakersfield plant in July 1985, and issued a notice of violation to Mobil on October 16, 1985. Mobil complied with the law's emission requirements in December 1985 and has been in compliance since that time. U.S. EPA charged in an April 1987 complaint that the Mobil plant's VOC emissions exceeded limits set forth in California's clean air plan between 1983 and 1985. The civil suit against Mobil resulted in extensive discovery and numerous legal motions, leaving the case unresolved until now.
 VOCs react with sunlight in the atmosphere to create ground-level ozone, or smog. High ozone concentrations can impair breathing, irritate mucous membranes in the nose and throat, and may have depressive effects on the body's immune system. The Bakersfield area is one of several regions in California that fails to meet national health-based air quality standards for ozone.
 -0- 11/12/92 R
 /CONTACT: Bill Glenn of U.S. EPA, 415-744-1589/
 (MOB) CO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Mobil Oil Corp. ST: California IN: OIL SU: EXE


TM -- SF007 -- 0472 11/12/92 20:10 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 12, 1992
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