EPA objects to BP Whiting refinery permit

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Oct. 22
-- The US Environmental Protection Agency issued an objection regarding a federal air permit for BP North America's refinery in Whiting, Ind., leaving the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to review an existing permit.

The 384,750 b/cd refinery is undergoing construction to increase its capacity to process Canadian heavy crude. The modernization is expected to cost $3.8 billion and is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

The federal air permit would be necessary once the modernization is completed. EPA previously approved a permit.

Scott Dean, BP spokesman for refining and marketing in Chicago, said, “We were surprised and frankly disappointed,” by the EPA objection to the permit. “We continue to construct the plant,” he said. BP has received a copy of the EPA objection, he said.

BP has worked with both federal and state authorities on all necessary permits, Dean said.

In August 2008, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Hoosier Environmental Council, Save the Dunes and Sierra Club petitioned EPA to formally object to the state's modification of BP's operating permit for a modernization project to refine high-sulfur Canadian crude oil.

EPA said that IDEM must respond to the specific questions raised by these groups and then reevaluate the emissions calculations.

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