Delaware City refinery fined $150k for violating ban on crude oil shipments

 The refinery near Delaware City has been fined for violating a state order and shipping 35.7 million gallons of crude oil to unauthorized facilities. (File/WHYY)

The refinery near Delaware City has been fined for violating a state order and shipping 35.7 million gallons of crude oil to unauthorized facilities. (File/WHYY)

The state fined the Delaware City Refining Company and owner PBF Energy $150,000 Friday for violating an agreement not to ship crude oil to locations other than its Paulsboro, N.J., facility.

The Delaware City refinery had agreed in 2013 to ship crude oil only to the Paulsboro site as a condition of receiving an air permit from state environmental regulators. Contrary to the order, refinery operators made 17 barge deliveries carrying 35.7 million gallons to three other locations through 2014,  state officials disclosed Friday.

Company officials could not be reached for comment. The refinery, which has had several owners and been fined numerous times over the years for violating Delaware’s environmental laws, has 30 days to appeal the latest fine.

Investigators from the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) found that the refinery not only made the banned shipments but did not disclose them or seek permission to make them. In addition, the refinery also concealed the number, nature and extent of the shipments to prohibited facilities, DNREC said Friday.

In December 2015 the refinery responded to DNREC inquiries about the possible illegal shipments by asserting that there was one shipment to an alternate facility because of an “unanticipated logistical irregularity,” DNREC’s violation order said.

In February 2016 the refinery wrote to DNREC that the shipment was “an atypical, one-time event,” DNREC said.

But in subsequent correspondence in December, refinery officials contradicted the earlier assertions and ultimately acknowledged making at least 17 such shipments, DNREC said.

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