David Yates Jan. 20, 2015, 2:06pm


A pair of environmental groups recently filed a notice of appeal in their dismissed suit against ExxonMobil, which asked the federal court to levy hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties against the company for toxic emissions violations at its Baytown facility.

Alleging violations of the Clean Air Act, Environment Texas Citizen Lobby and Sierra Club filed suit against ExxonMobil and its subsidiaries on Dec. 13, 2010 in the U.S. District Court for Southern Texas, Houston Division.

The complaint claimed ExxonMobil’s refinery in Baytown, the largest in the U.S., emitted more than eight million pounds of pollutants into the atmosphere over the past five years, exceeding federal legal limits.

In addition to enjoining ExxonMobil from operating all stationary sources of air pollutants, the environmental groups asked the court to asses a civil penalty of around $30,000 per day for violation of the act, which could add up to well over $600 million in fines.

Court records show the eco groups originally requested $1,023,845,000 in penalties but later reduced the amount to $642,697,500.

Following four years of litigation, Judge David Hittner entered a final judgment and findings of fact and conclusions of law on Dec. 17, finding in favor of ExxonMobil.

On Friday, Jan. 16 Environment Texas and Sierra Club filed a notice of appeal, court records show.

“Notice is hereby given that the plaintiffs in the above named case, Environment Texas Citizen Lobby, Inc., and Sierra Club, hereby appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from the Final Judgment (Docket No. 226) and the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (Docket No.225) entered in this action on December 17, 2014,” the notice states.

The environmental groups are represented in part by attorney Phillip Hilder of the Houston law firm Hilder & Associates.

Case No. 4:10-cv-04969

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