By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp and PDC Energy Inc will each pay a $2.5 million civil penalty to settle charges by the federal government and several states alleging the companies violated laws aimed at reducing air pollution, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday.
The settlement between Exxon and the department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Louisiana alleges the company violated the Clean Air Act when it failed to properly operate and monitor industrial flares at eight of its petrochemical facilities in Texas and Louisiana.
In addition to the penalty, it agreed to invest nearly $300 million to install new air pollution monitoring technology.
The PDC settlement with the federal government and the state of Colorado also relates to Clean Air Act violations stemming from emissions of volatile organic compounds from its oil and gas exploration and production businesses.
Exxon denied any wrongdoing in the settlement, and its spokesman Aaron Stryk said the company worked closely with the government to resolve the matter.
PDC President and Chief Executive Bart Brookman said the agreement resulted from months of conversations with state and EPA regulators. In its settlement, PDC denied any liability.
The company also agreed to spend about $18 million on systems upgrades and another $1.7 million to mitigate the problems.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; additional reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Richard Chang)