There is a public hearing in Houston Texas on Tuesday August 5th on EPA’s proposed changes to regulations for petroleum refineries (“Refinery Rules”).
The proposed Refinery Rules address toxic air emissions from flares, storage tanks, Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction activities (SSM activities), and coker units, and seeks to require fence line monitoring for Benzene.
UNFORTUNATELY, this action does NOT address emissions from coker units at Calcining operations…… only coker units at Petroleum Refineries!! To protect our health, we need upgraded pollution controls on ALL coker units.
It does however require fence line monitoring of air concentrations, including BENZENE, but only provides a rolling-annual average based on bi-weekly readings. Wouldn’t it be more efficient for the plants and more protective of our health if residents had access to the daily maximum benzene readings in our community?
The proposal eliminates exemptions on emission limits during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction. These exemptions have allowed refineries to emit toxic air emissions above the permit caps. Discharges through pressure relief devices will be considered a violation.
Submit Public Comments to EPA by August 29 2014. http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/petref.html
One of the local petroleum refineries in St Bernard has been flaring with nasty odors for days now, with disturbing vibrations to houses and the nuisances of obnoxious noises, and the return of that mysterious "white dust". This is reportedly from shutting down multiple units, including the ALKY unit, over several days for a planned maintenance and turnaround. Are you tired from all the racket and feeling sick from the nasty odors? It doesn’t have to be this way. Demand upgraded control technology for your health, because no amount of fines will restore it.
""One of the excuses companies use is that their facilities release certain premature and post-operational emissions when they are firing up, shutting down, or when they break down. This is part of doing business, they say, so it shouldn’t count under the permit caps, even though it fouls up the air quality of the people who live near their facilities.Roughly three dozen states allow for this type of pollution under rules called “startup shutdown malfunction,” or SSM, by those who track this and who care about people’s health. It’s been going on for roughly four decades, and environmental justice groups want it stopped, like, yesterday.""