Chevron and Southwest Gas have been fined close to $1 million for late or inaccurate reporting of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for 2011. This action marks the second time the Air Resources Board (ARB) has issued fines for violations of California’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting regulation.
Chevron USA will pay $364,500 for reporting incorrect information regarding operations at its El Segundo Refinery. In this case the data remained uncorrected for 243 days, according to ARB.
In a separate matter, Chevron North America Exploration & Production Company of Houston, TX has agreed to pay $328,500 for late reporting of GHGs emissions from its San Joaquin Valley oil fields. That data was late or incorrect for 219 days.
Southwest Gas Corporation of Las Vegas, NV has agreed to pay $300,000 to resolve its late report regarding natural gas supplied to California for the year 2011. Southwest’s data was reported 320 days late.
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Utilities and industrial facilities emitting more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide are required to report their GHG emissions each year. Those emitting 25,000 metric tons or more are covered by California’s cap-and-trade program. The reported emissions are independently verified by Air Resources Board staff, and provide the inventory of emissions critical to monitor the success of the state’s landmark AB 32 GHG emission-reduction programs.
“Most California businesses are working hard to comply with new rules aimed at climate change. Unfortunately, due to mistakes or inattention some companies failed to meet the standards,” said ARB’s manager of climate programs, Steven Cliff, PhD.
The companies in all three cases have cooperated with the ARB to correct inaccurate data and to file missing reports. In each case, these are first violations and investigators have determined they were inadvertent. The companies involved brought the missing reports to ARB’s attention These are the largest penalties assessed for violations of the Mandatory Reporting regulation. In July, the ARB penalized nine other companies smaller amounts for late or inaccurate reporting.
Last year, Chevron joined several energy companies, philanthropic foundations and environmental groups to form a new organization that provides shale gas producers with performance standards certification for shale development. The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) set 15 initial performance standards designed to ensure safe and environmentally responsible development of the Appalachian Basin’s abundant shale gas resources. These standards will form the foundation of the CSSD’s independent, third-party certification process.
A December 2013 report found that 51 of the world’s top 100 companies are emitting unsustainable levels of carbon dioxide. However, of the 49 companies that scored sustainably, 25 of those exhibited revenue growth even as their emissions declined, proving that decoupling of growth and emissions is possible.