10 July 2008 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The City of Houston wants the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to change the way it calculates hazardous emissions from petrochemical plants and refineries, saying the current system is inaccurate, the mayor’s office said on Thursday.
The city was filing a petition with the EPA saying it did not believe the agency’s current assessment system met legal standards.
“The current system relies on formulas, equations and assumptions, known as ‘emission factors,’ which have been proven by direct observations of facilities to be inaccurate, unreliable and biased toward undercounting,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.
“Scientific studies have confirmed that actual emissions from petroleum refineries and chemical manufacturing plants can be 100 times greater than the EPA’s estimations,” the mayor’s office said.
The city’s petition said direct observations at a number of Houston area facilities over several years have shown undercounting of both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) such as benzene.
The city said it was asking the EPA to use direct observations in its emission assessments.
Mayor Bill White unveiled a benzene-reduction plan in May aimed at chemical producers and other industries.
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