Murphy Oil Sued Over Pollution

Murphy Oil Sued Over Pollution

State and federal law enforcement authorities said on Friday they had filed twin lawsuits charging Murphy Oil Corp. with violations of air and water pollution-control laws at its refinery in Superior, Wis.

The suits allege that the plant emits excessive levels of sulphur dioxide, closely associated with acid rain, and that Murphy failed to install adequate pollution-control equipment at the refinery when it was modified in the early 1990s.

If found guilty, Murphy would be required to pay a penalty of $25,000 for each violation and upgrade the refinery, which produces 36,000 barrels of gasoline and distillates daily, according to U.S. Attorney Leslie Harje.

A Murphy spokesman said the company denied the charges and said the Superior refinery fully complies with state regulations.

"We're on the high ground, here," said a Murphy official. "Our emissions have in fact gone down."

The company has 60 days to respond to the state and federal lawsuits, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Wisconsin's Western District. Officials said the suits were filed only after negotiations failed to result in a settlement.

Murphy is an integrated oil and gas company headquartered in El Dorado, Ark. It operates in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.