Friday, September 08, 2006

Breathers beware: EPA gives Friday gift to oil industry

Dear friends,

Many of us have become accustomed to the Bush Administration EPA’s tendency to slip out industry-friendly rules and proposals on a Friday, in an effort to minimize media attention to things that many of us would consider “bad” news. (If there were theme music to this sort of thing, it would be “you’re getting to be a habit with me,” from the Broadway musical 42nd Street.)

Well, brace yourself, because here we go again.

We understand the EPA is preparing today to roll out new industry-sought proposals aimed at helping the oil industry avoid pollution controls.

This is a topic so laden with jargon – it involves the terms “aggregation” and “debottlenecking” – that few sane people would be interested at first glance. (See a little on this, below.)

The underlying issue is very simple: this proposal would create new loopholes that would enable the oil industry to avoid installing modern pollution controls. And it is very telling that the agency would slip this thing out on a Friday to minimize media scrutiny. Breathers beware!

--Frank O’Donnell
Clean Air Watch

Technically, these would be proposed revisions to current “new source review” requirements which are designed to make sure that existing big sources of pollution install modern pollution controls when they make changes that could otherwise increase pollution. Those of you who have followed this know that the Bush EPA has already tried various changes to these requirements – all of them designed to cut breaks for industry and permit them to avoid pollution controls. There has been a lot of court action on these issues that we don’t need to get into here, but are happy to discuss

These new rules, which were approved last week by the White House Office of Management and Budget, entail making industry-friendly changes to so-called “debottlenecking” and “aggregation” provisions.

As Greenwire explains it so clearly, "debottlenecking" occurs when a plant manager tries to increase production by replacing broken or outdated equipment.

“Aggregation" is when industrial facilities have multiple projects in a large area. Under the EPA plan, industries may be able to keep their projects separate to avoid being forced to install emission controls.

1 comment:

Jim K said...

Can't wait... just 2 more years to go with George W.

Hope things get better.


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