The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued an objection to the operating permit for BP North America’s refinery in Whiting, IN that will require the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to rewrite the permit.
The decision is a victory for ELPC and the other citizens and environmental groups who petitioned EPA to object to the permit in August 2008 on the grounds that it did not accurately account for the large increases in dangerous air pollution that would be caused by BP’s expansion of the refinery. ELPC filed the petition with a coalition that included Hoosier Environmental Council, Natural Resources Defense Council, Save the Dunes Council, Sierra Club, Susan Eleuterio and Tom Tsourlis.
BP began a major expansion of the Whiting Refinery in 2008 in order to process dirty Canadian tar sands crude oil at the facility. The expansion would make the refinery the largest refiner of tar sands oil in the U.S. and would increase numerous traditional air pollutants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. In addition, the expansion would create approximately as much new global warming pollution as a new 300-400 megawatt coal plant, about a forty percent increase from current refinery levels.
“BP needs to come clean about what this expansion really will mean for clean air and public health.” said ELPC Staff Attorney Meleah Geertsma.