By September 30, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

EPA refinery rule is much improved but remains costly – API

American Petroleum Institute says refineries voluntarily reducing emissions for decades under existing regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency has made substantial improvements in the final refinery sector rule, but new regulations could still cost up to $1 billion, according to API Downstream Group Director Bob Greco.

refinery

ExxonMobil’s Beaumont refinery.

“EPA analyses, supported by extensive industry monitoring data, show that air emissions from refineries are already at safe levels,” Greco said.

“The refinery industry has proven we can provide reliable American energy while protecting the environment and local communities, and collaborative efforts by API and the EPA led to final regulations that are more cost-effective than the proposal.”

Refineries have been reducing emissions for decades under voluntary programs and in compliance with existing regulations.

Through comments made during the rulemaking process, API identified and supported practical, cost-effective opportunities to even further reduce emissions in a manner that recognizes the complexity of the industry, which EPA took into account.

“Despite these improvements, regulators need to be thoughtful about the additional impacts of new regulations and added costs to delivering affordable energy to U.S. consumers,” said Greco.

“Companies have already spent billions of dollars to reduce emissions by installing flare gas recovery and flare minimization systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and air quality continues to improve as a result of these voluntary programs and existing regulations.”

According to the EPA, the final requirements, when fully implemented in 2018, will reduce toxic emissions from refineries, improve air quality and significantly reduce risk to public health in communities surrounding these facilities.

  •  This rule will result in a reduction of 5,200 tons per year of toxic air pollutants, and 50,000 tons per year of volatile organic compounds (VOC).
  • Because communities located near the fence-line of refineries have low income and minority populations at nearly twice the rate as the general population, these vulnerable communities will benefit significantly from the emission reductions achieved by this final rule.
  • Exposure to toxic air pollutants from refineries can cause respiratory problems and other serious health issues, and can increase the risk of developing cancer.

For a summary of changes between the proposed and final rules, click here.

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