US refiners welcome delay in new GHG emissions limits

22 November 2011 19:01  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US refiners on Tuesday welcomed the decision by federal environmental officials to postpone proposed new rules on refinery emissions, but an industry leader said it would be better if the rules were abandoned altogether.

Charles Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) said that the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to delay implementation of new greenhouse gases (GHG) limits for refineries “is good news for American consumers and refinery workers”.

The EPA said on Monday that it would not be able to meet its own mid-December deadline for proposed new limits on GHG emissions by power plants and refineries.

The agency did not say when the rules proposal will be issued.

The EPA said in December 2010 that it would establish greenhouse gas emissions standards for refineries and electric utilities, citing its obligations under the Clean Air Act and a lawsuit filed by state governments and environmentalists demanding that action.

At the time, the agency said the GHG limits would be issued in a proposed form by mid-December 2011, with final standards to be issued in November 2012.

In its brief announcement on Monday, the EPA did not indicate whether the delay in issuing the proposed rules would also mean a parallel postponement of the November 2012 deadline for the final greenhouse gases rules for refineries.

While he welcomed the delay, the NPRA’s Drevna said that “our nation would be even better off if EPA went further and dropped plans to impose this unnecessary and counterproductive rule”.

He charged that the EPA restrictions on refinery emissions of greenhouse gases “will do nothing to improve our environment but could raise energy costs and threaten American jobs”.

In testimony before Congress and in comments to the EPA, the NPRA has argued that US refineries are already operating with maximum emissions controls and that the technology to further reduce GHG emissions at those plants does not yet exist.

Drevna has argued that the EPA’s new limits on refinery emissions would force some facilities out of business, eliminate jobs and shift more US manufacturing and related workforce to foreign shores.

($1 = €0.74)

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