Marathon-Ashland refinery wins environmental award

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 22, 2005

GARYVILLE – The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality recently recognized Marathon Ashland Petroleum’s Louisiana Refining Division (LRD) environmental stewardship.

On August 5, 2005, the USEPA approved the LRD’s three-year membership in the National Environmental Performance Track (NEPT).

This is the second time the refinery has been awarded this prestigious designation. Only 350 facilities nationwide have been named to the NEPT.

The program recognizes facilities that have an environmental management system (EMS), demonstrated environmental achievements and commitment to continued improvement, provide public outreach and performance reporting, and maintain a record of sustained compliance with environmental requirements.

The LRD was first granted NEPT membership in January 2002, and is still the only refinery in the U.S. to be so honored.

During the August 15 Eighth Annual Governor’s Environmental Leadership Awards ceremony, Governor Kathleen Blanco and LDEQ Secretary Mike McDaniel presented the LRD with three awards:

Community Environmental Outreach

This LRD project was a combination of the residential “Property Purchase Program,” which was presented to approximately 38 property owners and renters on the east side of the refinery, and the purchase agreement with the Zion Travelers Missionary Baptist Church, which is also east of the refinery. These two programs provided both the church and interested residents the chance to relocate under favorable circumstances. Favorably received by the community, these programs are being used by LDEQ as models for other communities.

Pollution Prevention

This project was developed in response to LDEQ’s emergency rule lowering the Reportable Quantity of certain highly reactive volatile organic compounds. The purpose of the rule is to help the ozone non-attainment problem in the five parish Baton Rouge area. St. John the Baptist Parish, which is home to the LRD, is not in the non-attainment area but is immediately adjacent to the area. The refinery project reduced flaring of propylene and butylenes from the refinery fuel gas system during certain upset conditions by 77 percent over the period of 2003-2004, from 731 pounds to 171 pounds.

Environmental Management System

This project expands the refinery’s EMS developed under the NEPT program to encompass all aspects of health, environmental, safety, and security thus becoming a HESS MS. While the full integration is ongoing, the LRD demonstrated that its HESS MS led to several environmental, safety, and security improvements, including:

  • Reduced flaring through installation of valves and enhanced level controls on the heat exchangers, compressors, and sulfur recovery units.
  • Development and implementation of new supervisor training which includes both business and HESS objectives.
  • Development and implementation of hazard recognition training.
  • Installation of new and enhanced security equipment and procedures.