Release 92-11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT:         Jerry Martin
July 30, 1992                                                                                                       Allan Hirsch
                                                                                                                            (916) 322-2990

Air Resources Board Reaches Settlement With Oil Company
Over Anti-Smog Rule Violations

SACRAMENTO - The state Air Resources Board (ARB), a component of the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has reached a $100,000 settlement with Paramount Oil Company of Los Angeles for failing to meet anti-smog specifications designed to limit excessive summertime emissions caused by evaporating fuel.

        The settlement is based on the sale of 616,686 gallons of gasoline, equal to more than 30,000 fill-ups, that exceeded the state's specification for vapor pressure, a measure of how readily gasoline evaporates, resulting in excessive emissions of smog-forming hydrocarbon. The gasoline had a vapor pressure of 11.53 pounds per square inch (psi), compared to a state standard of 7.8 psi that is in effect during hot weather months of the "smog season" from March through October.

        The non-conforming gasoline was discovered during routine ARB monitoring of gasoline sales in the 10 days of March, after oil companies were supposed to make the switch from winter-time blends to lower-evaporating fuel.

        "This is a very critical part of our summer-time effort to lower ozone levels," noted James D. Boyd, ARB executive officer, "which is why the ARB is so aggressive in enforcing our specifications for gasoline.

        "Reducing the ability of gasoline to evaporate not only reduces air pollution, but also helps conserve gasoline supplies," he added.

        Because Paramount is currently in the process of reorganizing its finances under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the ARB agreed to accept the settlement in 10 monthly installments of $10,000, the first of which has been paid. "We could not overlook the violations of our rules," Boyd said, "but we were able to be flexible in how the settlement was paid to help Paramount out of its current financial difficulty."

        In addition to the settlement, Paramount will compensate for the pollution it created by meeting the ARB's future clean-air specifications for gasoline at least 60 days in advance, at an estimated cost of $150,000. The ARB's most stringent standards for cleaner burning gasoline take effect in 1996 and will reduce the smog-forming potential of gasoline exhaust by 40 percent.

        If Paramount fails to meet the advance deadline for the cleaner gasoline specifications, it has agreed to pay an additional settlement of $150,000.

        The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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