Engineering News

NY-led Refinery Suit Could Hinder Expansions Nationwide
Monday, August 25, 2008

A lawsuit filed against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Monday could make it more difficult for oil companies to expand U.S. refineries.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that he is suing the EPA for failing to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries. If successful, the suit could require the EPA to pass guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions from refineries.

Recently, plans to expand refineries in Illinois and Indiana have drawn criticism for their failure to include controls to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions are seen as a factor creating global climate change.

Twelve states and Washington D.C. have joined Cuomo in the suit. The legal action challenges the EPA to require new or renovated oil refineries to install technologies that control global-warming pollution, in violation of the Clean Air Act.

"The EPA's refusal to control pollution from oil refineries is the latest example of the Bush Administration's do-nothing policy on global warming," Cuomo said in a press release. "Oil refineries contribute substantially to global warming, posing grave threats to New York's environment, health, and economy," he said. New York doesn't have any oil refineries. The closest refinery to New York is ConocoPhillips' (COP) Bayway refinery in Linden, NJ. The East Coast refining hubs of New Jersey and Pennsylvania are absent from the suit. Of the states who joined Cuomo, only Delaware, New Mexico, and California have oil refineries.

Cuomo's suit charges that the EPA violated the Clean Air Act when it refused to issue standards for controlling global-warming pollution emissions from oil refineries.

These standards, known as New Source Performance Standards, target refiners who are expanding their plants or building new plants. Cuomo argued that the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to adopt these New Source standards for oil refineries, as well as power plants and other major stationary sources, if the EPA determines they emit air pollution that poses a danger to public health and welfare.

On June 24, the EPA finalized new air pollution control regulations for oil refineries without setting a standard for global-warming pollution, Cuomo said.

Source: Dow Jones Newswires

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