By RYAN TRACY
WASHINGTON -- Thirty companies have agreed to pay what the US
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) described as "modest"
civil penalties for using fraudulent credits to meet a federal
The companies aren't accused of creating the fraudulent
credits, which were traded under a system overseen by EPA. But
they're on the hook because the agency's rules hold the buyer
The EPA is taking separate action against two companies
accused of selling credits that didn't represent actual gallons
The settlement resolves violations of the Renewable Fuels
Standard for companies such as ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips,
but it may not mean the end of the firms' financial burden for
the invalid credits.
Companies who bought the fraudulent credits still must
replace them with valid ones, meaning they may have to buy
additional credits to make up the difference.
In all, as much as $49 million fraudulent credits are
alleged to have been sold, and the EPA says it is investigating
"credible leads" of further fraud that could reveal even more
ExxonMobil will pay $165,407 under the settlement, according
to documents posted on EPA's website. ConocoPhillips will pay
At least three other companies, including refiner Tesoro,
received notices of violation but haven't settled with EPA.
Representatives of ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and Tesoro
did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Dow Jones Newswires