Cleaning Up Oil Refineries

EPA Blocks Air Permit for BP Refinery Expansion, Sides with ELPC and Coalition

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.

Read the Press Release Here

Oil Refinery Expansions Will Heavily Pollute Great Lakes

ELPC’s Howard Learner has been outspoken on the huge global warming pollution impacts of the eight planned oil refinery expansions in the Great Lakes region.  He shared his views with a conference in Toronto entitled, “How the Oil Sands Got to the Great Lakes Basin: Pipelines, Refineries and Emissions to Air and Water.”  The University of Toronto’s Munk Centre sponsored the event and issued an accompanying report that spells out the pollution linked to the refinery expansions that are needed to process tar sands crude, along with the new pipeline networks needed to transport the oil.  The report says this creates a “pollution delivery system” connecting Alberta to the Great Lakes region of Canada and the U.S.  Read the Toronto Globe and Mail article.

New Farm Bill Promotes Clean Energy Programs

Congress overrode the President’s veto of the Farm Bill, including a significant clean energy development component. The legislation has improved and new programs for wind power, advanced biofuels, energy efficiency, solar power and new energy crops for cleaner energy from America’s farmers, ranchers and rural businesses. “These programs are good for all Americans – they are a win-win-win for our energy security, environment, and economy,” said Howard Learner, ELPC’s Executive Director.

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