Sinclair Tulsa Refining Co. will pay a $5 million fine for federal claims that Sinclair altered water flows during monitoring periods between 2002 and 2004, the company reported Wednesday.
In addition, Sinclair will make a payment of $500,000 to the Tulsa River Parks Authority, the company said in a release.
Sinclair expressed regret for alleged permit violations of the Clean Water Act. Sinclair declined to make any further comments regarding the issue.
While details related to the violations are complex, Sinclair respects the government’s position and accepts responsibility for the events associated with the investigation and today’s results.
“Sinclair places great emphasis on adhering to all laws and regulations that apply to the company,” said Russ Florence, spokesman. “The company has already made numerous improvements to its environmental programs over the last few years in an effort to avoid future violations.”
The improvements include doubling of the number of environmental staff and hiring of an outside consultant to implement a more formalized environmental management system, Florence said.
The refinery has made recent improvements to produce ultra-low sulphur fuels at a cost of approximately $135 million.
Sinclair was also an early participant in producing gasoline to help control ozone, and spent $141 million from 2003 to 2005, primarily on low sulfur fuels and reduced vapor pressure gasoline. In 2004, the Tulsa Refinery was awarded the Frank Condon Environmental Excellence Award for its work in protecting Tulsa’s air quality.
The refinery employs 257 people and supplies petroleum products to states throughout the Midwest. Sinclair’s Tulsa refinery has added 60 full-time employees in recent months, with an average salary of $60,000.
The Tulsa refinery was purchased by the company in 1983 after it had been closed by the previous owners. Since that time, Sinclair has invested $180 million just on environmental projects at the Tulsa refinery.