EPA indicates Chevron was aware it violated Clean Air Act

Search warrants served on two Cook Inlet oil facilities last week were based on federal environmental regulators' suspicions that Chevron Corp. had knowingly violated its air pollution permits and made false statements, court filings show.

An Anchorage federal court magistrate on Jan. 7 authorized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigation Division to seize computers, files, photos and other records at Chevron's Trading Bay Production Facility and Granite Point Tank Farm.

In an affidavit, EPA Special Agent Matthew Goers told the judge that his agency had obtained sufficient information to suspect that Chevron and possibly its subsidiaries, managers and employees had committed felonies, including Clean Air Act violations and false statements to the federal government.

The searches occurred Jan. 12 and 13, with federal investigators flying to the two remote, on-shore Chevron facilities on the west side of Cook Inlet in an Alaska Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter, according to state and federal officials.

Chevron on Thursday said it is cooperating with the investigation but declined to discuss the EPA's court filings.

"In May of 2008, we provided the government with voluntary disclosure relating to these issues and have been cooperating with the government's information requests since that time. We take such non-compliance allegations seriously," the company said in a written statement, provided by Chevron spokesman Mickey Driver.

At Trading Bay and Granite Point, Chevron subsidiary Union Oil Co. of California processes and stores crude oil from several Cook Inlet production platforms. The company then ships the oil to the Tesoro refinery in Nikiski.

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