LyondellBasell Companies Agree to Reduce Air Pollution at Chemical Plant in Morris, Illinois – Settlement Will Cut Flaring and Require Fenceline Monitoring

Chicago IL (7/25/2022) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department today announced an amendment to a 2022 Clean Air Act consent decree with three subsidiaries of Dutch chemical giant LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (Lyondell), that will reduce harmful air pollution at a company chemical plant in Morris, Illinois.

Lyondell has agreed to install and operate instruments and monitoring systems to ensure high combustion efficiency at the flares at its Morris facility. The company will also install a fenceline monitoring system to measure benzene levels at the boundary of the facility. That monitoring data will be publicly available and will be used to identify and address other potential excess emissions. In addition to the compliance requirements, Lyondell will pay a $324,000 civil penalty. The company estimates it will ultimately spend at least $4.6 million to bring the flares into compliance.

The proposed amendment addresses Clean Air Act violations alleging that Lyondell failed to properly operate and monitor its industrial flares and failed to comply with other key operating constraints to ensure volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and hazardous air pollutants, including benzene, contained in the gases routed to the flares are effectively combusted. The proposed amendment is expected to reduce emissions of VOCs by 145 tons per year compared to emissions prior to EPA’s enforcement action.

The pollutants addressed by the settlement and the amendment can cause significant harm to public health. VOCs are a key component in the formation of smog or ground-level ozone, a pollutant that irritates the lungs, exacerbates diseases such as asthma, and can increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Chronic exposure to benzene, which EPA classifies as a carcinogen, can cause numerous health impacts, including leukemia and adverse reproductive effects in women. Flares are also often large sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

The amendment to the consent decree, lodged in the District Court for the Southern District of Texas, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. The consent decree will be available for viewing on the Justice Department websiteExit Exit EPA website.

For more information about this settlement please visit this EPA web page.

Contact Information: Rachel Bassler ( – 312-965-8901