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Tigher Emission Rules On Refiners

From Gas Buddy

California’s  Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the public agency responsible for regulating stationary sources of air pollution in the nine counties that surround San Francisco Bay, has launched an aggressive plan to cut emissions from the region’s five refineries.

By unanimous vote on Oct. 15, BAAQMD’s board passed a resolution that commits the agency to completing a series of actions over the next several months to further a newly announced goal of reducing local refinery emissions.

The resolution also calls for staff to create a “companion rule” to PRET that would set emissions thresholds for each refinery to be used as a measure, or baseline, for mitigating any potential future emissions increases.

Staff evaluations of emissions-reducing approaches as well as a recommended strategy for meeting the 20% reduction target are due to the board by December, while the finalized PRET and companion mitigation rules are to be presented by spring 2015, according to the resolution.

BAAQMD said it plans to have a final set of rules in place to meet the new emissions reduction goal by year-end 2015.

According to the latest draft version of PRET, dated July 17, refiners would be required to:

• Provide a detailed and comprehensive health risk assessment of hazardous substances and regulated air pollutants dispersed into the surrounding areas.

• Compile and submit an annual inventory of emissions from their operations.

• Report, on an annual basis, certain composition characteristics of crude oils they process.

• Install, operate, and maintain fence-line and community air monitoring systems.

According to Oil & Gas Journal, much of what BAAQMD proposes with PRET replicates requirements that Bay Area refiners already face under other state and national regulations, while the companion rule raises legal issues related to current operating permits legally granted to the refineries following thorough New Source Review and Prevention of Significant Deterioration permitting practices as delegated to BAAQMD by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
“The companion rule is more or less another version of the baseline rule, which was removed in April from [PRET] due to a series of legal challenges under California law,” said Guy Bjerke of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA).


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