Thursday, August 23, 2007

US EPA: It's safe to live near a refinery (IS IT?!)

The US EPA came out with a pretty stunning announcement this morning, proclaiming that it’s safe to live near a refinery.

The agency said it would not update toxic pollution standards for refineries because “risks to human health and the environment are low enough that no further controls are warranted.” (See below.)

This would come as pretty shocking news to folks who actually live near refineries.

EPA’s declaration came in response to a lawsuit by my friends at Sierra Club and Our Childrens Earth Foundation.

This decision will underscore the perception that the Bush administration is pretty cozy with the oil industry.


News Brief If you need more information on this subject, call the listed Press Officer For Release: (Washington, D.C. ? Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EPA Evaluated Air Toxics Risks from Petroleum Refineries, Seeks Comment on Additional Emissions Reductions Contact: John Millett, (202) 564-4355 / A recent analysis by EPA on the risks from air toxics emitted from petroleum refineries found that the risks to human health and the environment are low enough that no further controls are warranted. Based on the results of the analysis, EPA is proposing two options for controlling air toxics emissions from refineries. The first option requires no additional emissions reductions because the risks are acceptably low.
As a second option, EPA is proposing requiring additional emissions reductions for certain storage vessels and wastewater treatment units. Under this alternative, EPA projects that refineries could reduce air toxics emissions by about 1,000 to 4,600 tons per year from 153 facilities. The agency estimates this alternative could cost up to $1.1 million or save up to $4.0 million nationwide each year by reducing product loss. EPA is seeking comment on both options. EPA analyzed the petroleum refinery emissions as part of a Clean Air Act requirement that the agency examine potential risks that remain after implementation of standards known as maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards. MACT standards require industrial facilities to reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants. EPA issued the MACT standard for petroleum refineries in 1995. The rule reduces nationwide emissions of air toxics from petroleum refineries by an estimated 53,000 tons per year. EPA has issued 96 MACT standards covering 174 industry sectors. Those rules reduce air toxic emissions by an estimated 1.7 million tons per year. EPA will accept public comment on its proposal for 60 days following publication of the proposed action in the Federal Register.
For more information on the rule:

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