Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Texaco fined in Illinois

The article states that the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has reached an agreement with the owners of a former Texaco Inc. owned refinery for allegedly releasing oil and other hazardous materials into the surrounding environment near the location of the refinery before closing in 1995. Madigan was accompanied by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Environment Protection Agency in reaching the terms of the settlement. One aspect of the settlement is that Texaco is required to pay $1.7 million for the ecosystem restoration projects that will take place on and near the former refinery. Also, they must provide funding for the IDNR and the IEPA which will aid in the ecological restoration activities, groundwater management, and help pay the associated expenses. The third order of the settlement requires Texaco to transfer approximately 2300 acres (~3.5 mi²) of land south of the former refinery to the IDNR which is located in the Embarras River watershed. All funds accepted by these organizations go toward the restoration of the land which is expected to provide a great habitat for wetland animals.
As firms push to lower the costs of production, some tend to do so by cutting corners. I think the former owners of this refinery were doing just that when they decided to illegally release these harmful substances into their own environment. I think the problem is that some people either aren’t aware of the effects of pollution, or they just don’t care. I believe that they were rightfully penalized because as we interact with the environment, we need to be carefully preserving it while we benefit from its vast resources. The only part of the settlement that I would change is the amount of money that they were penalized. I feel as if $1.7 million isn’t enough because that money is being split into department expenses as well as the restoration projects so it looks like a lot at first until they reallocate the funds.
--Alex Roche

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