On May 20, 2013, the federal and State natural resource trustees announced the successful completion of restoration projects for natural resources injured by hazardous substances and oil releases at the Port Arthur Refinery, also known as the Old Gulf Oil Refinery, in Port Arthur, Jefferson County, southeastern Texas.
The natural resource trustees in this case include:
The Port Arthur Refinery occupies approximately 3,800 acres in an industrial area on the southwest side of Port Arthur, close to the Texas-Louisiana border. Gulf Oil Co. began refining Texas crude oil at this site in 1902. Chevron U.S.A, Inc. merged with Gulf Oil Co. in 1984 and then sold the site in 1995. The site remains an active refinery today operated by The Premcor Refining Group, Inc.
In a cooperative natural resource damage assessment beginning in 1999, the trustees, working with Chevron, determined that hazardous substances -- including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, lead, nickel, chromium, zinc and copper -- were released from the site to soils, surface water, sediments and groundwater. These releases injured natural resources including open water, sediments, wetlands, terrestrial habitats, migratory birds, terrestrial receptors and benthic aquatic invertebrates.
The trustees settled natural resource damage claims with Chevron in a Consent Decree entered by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division in 2004. The settlement was valued at $4.4 million. A publicly-reviewed Restoration Plan, prepared by the trustees in 2004, selected three, preferred restoration projects designed to create or enhance estuarine habitat in the Sabine Lake/Neches River basin:
The construction phase of these natural resource restoration projects was completed in 2009. After a monitoring period, the trustees certified the projects as successfully completed in 2013.