Eco-justice group steps up to help communities located nearby oil refineries

Way back on Sept. 30, 2015, on the Air Quality Matters blog, posted was “EPA institutes new oil-refinery-emissions rules, tougher standards set.”

In it, made perfectly clear was that the then new rule required the United States’ approximately 150 oil refineries to have monitors installed at refinery boundary areas to check for the presence of benzene and other air toxics. If the monitors detect air toxics like benzene to be too high, then necessitated will be refinery action to see to it that the emissions in question are reduced to safe levels.

But, Big Oil has since filed suit to block new rules implementation.

“Earthjustice filed a motion to intervene in that case to help the EPA defend improvements in the new rules and to help ensure affected community members living in the shadow of oil refineries have a voice as industry fights to try to escape these important new air standards,” the environmental justice organization in its “Community Groups Intervene to Defend Air Pollution Controls on Oil Refineries: Broad coalition will oppose attack by the oil industry on 2015 standardspress release related.

Meanwhile, “The new air standards for oil refinery emissions, released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year (despite being more than a decade overdue and not as strong as they should have been) represent a real step forward for communities that live near these refineries,” Earthjustice insisted. “The new standards will reduce toxic exposure and other health threats for millions of Americans and for the first time ever require all refineries to monitor and report releases of cancer-causing air-emissions into local neighborhoods.”

… Earthjustice further adding:

“Even with significant gains, these rules should have been stronger. In fact, the organizations defending the EPA against the effort to block the rules are also seeking in their own lawsuit to force the EPA to strengthen the standards, in part by removing unlawful new malfunction exemptions that would give oil refineries free passes to pollute and allow flares to smoke uncontrollably during malfunctions. The lawsuit has been consolidated with the industry suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.”

Each year, more than 140 major oil refineries release across the U.S. in excess of 17,000 tons of harmful air pollutants, according to Earthjustice.

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