EPA seeks more time to develop GHG limits for refineries

This article was updated Nov. 22.

The US Environmental Protection Agency does not anticipate meeting a mid-December deadline to issue proposed greenhouse gas emission limits for refineries. The agency expects to need more time and is working with litigants to develop a new schedule, a spokeswoman told OGJ by e-mail in response to an inquiry.

The American Petroleum Institute welcomed the news. “EPA is allowing itself more time to analyze industry data before proposing the unprecedented and enormously complex greenhouse gas rules for refineries,” said Howard Feldman, API regulatory and scientific affairs director.

Feldman said refiners recently provided more than 5 million data entries regarding their operations, and have repeatedly asked EPA to issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking before proposing new refinery rules. This would ensure that such rules would be based on accurate assessments of refineries’ actual emissions and risks, he explained.

“Of course, EPA’s application of the Clean Air Act in a way that was never intended by Congress threatens to unnecessarily raise the cost of producing America’s energy at a time when the administration should be focused on job creation and economic recovery,” Feldman said.

National Petrochemical & Refiners Association Pres. Charles T. Drevna called EPA’s delay good news for American consumers and refinery workers. “But our nation would be even better off if EPA went further and dropped plans to impose this unnecessary and counterproductive rule that will do nothing to improve our environment but could raise energy costs and threaten American jobs,” he said.

Environmental and other organizations supporting EPA’s effort to develop and implement GHG emissions limits for refineries did not immediately comment.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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