CITGO agrees to settlement for 2006 Louisiana refinery spill

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MOUNT PROSPECT, IL – JUNE 22: (FILE PHOTO) Gasoline prices are displayed at a 7 Eleven/Citgo gas station on June 22, 2004 in Mount Prospect, Illinois. According to news reports 7-Eleven Inc. will produce gasoline under their company branding when the Venezuela-backed Citgo Petroleum Corp. contract terminates next week. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — CITGO Petroleum Corp. has agreed to pay $19.7 million to restore natural resources damaged during a 2006 spill at its southwest Louisiana refinery that saw millions of gallons of waste oil and wastewater sent into the Calcasieu River estuary.

The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports the agreement involving CITGO’s Westlake refinery came in a consent decree the company entered with the U.S. Justice Department and federal and state trustees in federal court.

Combined with earlier settlements, the new deal means CITGO must pay almost $115 million in fines over the damage the spill caused.

“At least 54,000 barrels of waste (or ‘slop’) oil and untold millions of gallons of oily wastewater flowed into the waterways during the incident,” the Justice Department said in a complaint against the company.

That complaint was filed June 17 along with the consent decree in U.S. District Court in Lake Charles.

Plans call for using almost $19.2 million of the new settlement in Calcasieu Parish to restore parts of the 150-mile stretch of the estuary damaged by the spill, said Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator Sam Jones. The remaining settlement money will be used to reimburse federal and state agencies for unpaid damage assessment costs.

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