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The settlement requires Tesoro to audit benzene pollution at the company's Anacortes refinery. Crush Creations LLC/Shutterstock

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AP:

The Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced a $425 million settlement with two companies to reduce air pollution at six petroleum refineries in the West.

The agreement with Tesoro Corp. and Par Hawaii Refining resolves alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act and requires installment of new equipment to control emissions.

Tesoro is paying $10.4 million in damages as part of the settlement.

The agreement requires Tesoro to conduct a third party audit of benzene waste streams at its oil refinery in Anacortes, Washington. Benzene is a "toxic air pollutant" known or suspected to cause cancer and birth defects, according to the EPA. Regulators have found other wastewater problems at the refinery, too.

In April, the EPA fined Tesoro $720,000 for safety violations in Anacortes.

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In 2010, seven workers at the refinery died in an explosion. Tesoro is still appealing a $2.4 million fine from Washington State for allegedly negligent practices. The Department of Justice declined to file criminal charges. A family member of one of the deceased told KUOW, "The only way these things are going to change is if people in those [safety] jobs... are held criminally responsible for not doing their jobs."

Tesoro, based in San Antonio, is the 98th largest company in the United States, with revenues of $28 billion, according to Forbes. All the fines listed in this article add up to about five percent of its revenue.

Meanwhile, arrests for activists: Fifty-two environmental protesters were arrested for blocking railroad tracks leading into the refinery in May.