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BP Settles With Environmental Groups Over Whiting, Ind., Refinery

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Whiting Refinery

A fence surrounds the BP refinery October 12, 2007 in Whiting, Indiana. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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WHITING, Ind. (CBS) — Plaintiffs who sued BP over its refinery in Whiting, Ind., say a $400 million settlement will improve the health of people who live near the plant.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, BP entered a consent decree to take steps that will reduce pollution from its plant.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

The Chicago Tribune reports a lawsuit by federal regulators and environmental groups challenged the $4 million modernization of the plant approved by the State of Indiana, which allowed the refinery to begin processing heavy Canadian crude known as tar sands.

Those suing said that would significantly increase lung-damaging soot and other emissions from the refinery, the Tribune reported. Benzene, toluene and hydrogen sulfide are among the hazardous chemicals the plant pumps into the air, the newspaper reported.

The top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official in the Midwest, Susan Hedman, says the settlement will reduce those emissions and set a new standard for refineries around the country. The amount of benzene, toluene and hydrogen sulfide will drop by about 4,000 tons a year, the Tribune reported.

BP will also install pollution monitors on either side of the refinery, with results that will be available to neighbors weekly, the Tribune reported. The company will also pay a fine of $8 million, the newspaper reported.

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