The U.S. Justice Department calls it the largest criminal fine ever imposed in Louisiana for violations of the Clean Air Act.

A federal judge in Lafayette on Thursday approved a $10 million fine and $2 million in community service payments to be paid by Texas-based Pelican Refining Company LLC for felony violations of the act and obstruction of justice.

A Justice Department news release noted that Pelican admitted to several violations at its Lake Charles refinery, including the use of required equipment that did not work or was poorly maintained. Also, a pilot light in a flare tower where gases were burned off didn't work — so employees used an emergency flare gun to re-ignite the gases.

Pelican pleaded guilty and agreed to the payments in October.