Air Pollution testimony presents 2 sides
The U.S. EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency, is planning to issue new guidelines for the 149 petroleum refineries in the country, to reduce pollution from emissions that affect surrounding neighborhoods.
EPA is holding two all-day hearings nationally, one in California and the other in Galena Park, Texas. This hearing took place at the Baggett Community Center on Tuesday of this week, and an EPA committee heard testimony from about 100 persons, that included Congressmen, industry spokespersons, environmental activists, and ordinary citizens that live near the refineries.
EPA director Fred Thompson told the audience that the proposed rules would add emission control requirements for storage tanks, flares and coking units. Also, the proposal would require monitoring of air concentrations at the fenceline of refineries, to test for toxic air pollutants such as benzene, toluene and xylene and volatile organic compounds that exceed health standards. The rules in particular are aimed at releases during SSMs, or startups, shutdowns, and malfunctions.
Speaking for industry interests were Congressmen Gene Green and Pete Olson, as well as representatives of industry organizations API and AFPM.
Green said that the new rules would burden industry with high costs and unnecessary reporting, and were redundant with current regulations.