UPDATE 1-US court cites Murphy refinery for air pollution

* Judge rules Murphy violated law 21 times

* Ruling part of lawsuit alleging over 100 violations

* Residents talking with Murphy for settlement

(Adds Murphy unavailable, attorney comment, details of
lawsuit, background, resident comment)

By Erwin Seba

HOUSTON, Feb 4 (BestGrowthStock) – Murphy Oil Co (MUR.N: ) violated
the U.S. Clean Air Act 21 times by exceeding pollution limits
set for its Meraux, Louisiana, refinery between 2004 and 2009,
a federal judge ruled on Wednesday, according to a decision
accompanying the ruling.

For each violation of the Clean Air Act, Murphy could face
penalties of up to $32,000 per violation per day the violation
occurred.

A Murphy representative did not reply to requests for
comment about Wednesday’s ruling.

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Vance issued the summary
judgment in an ongoing lawsuit brought by an organization of
neighbors of the suburban New Orleans refinery.

In the 47-page decision explaining the ruling, Vance wrote
that 19 of the violations were undisputed by Murphy and two
others could not be claimed as malfunctions, which would allow
exceptions to the pollution limits.

“To a large extent, the ruling is a vindication of what
they have been saying that this refinery was not in compliance
with the law,” said Adam Babich, director of the Tulane
University Environmental Law Clinic, which brought the lawsuit
on behalf of Concerned Citizens Around Murphy.

Concerned Citizens Around Murphy brought the lawsuit and
has been in negotiations with the 120,000 barrel per day (bpd)
refinery since 2007 to resolve problems caused by air pollution
from the plant’s production units.

Failing an agreement between Murphy and Concerned Citizens
to resolve the lawsuit, a trial on more than 100 other alleged
Clean Air Act violations could go forward to trial in the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

One officer of Concerned Citizens said the residents of the
neighborhood had high expectations when they returned following
the cleanup after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which also
unleashed a spill of 25,000 barrels of mixed crude oil and
water from a storage tank at the Murphy refinery.

“We’ve strived to rebuild smarter, stronger and safer, not
for us, but for future generations,” said Suzanne Kneale,
secretary of Concerned Citizens. “Businesses and heavy industry
which chose to return to do business are also expected to
operate on a more responsible level.”

Murphy negotiated a $330-million settlement in 2007 with
3,800 residents affected by the 2005 oil-water spill.

Stock Market Research

(Editing by Marguerita Choy)

UPDATE 1-US court cites Murphy refinery for air pollution