Pruitt Proposes Revisions to Air Emissions Rules for Refiners

Monday, March 26, 2018

Nick Snow | Oil & Gas Journal | March 20, 2018

US Environment Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed amendments to the Petroleum Refinery Sector Risk and Technology Review and the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). The corrections will provide refiners regulatory clarity and savings of as much as $11.5 million/year in compliance costs, he said.

“The proposed amendments simplify compliance with national standards, generate significant cost savings, and ultimately enhance protection of human health and the environment,” Pruitt said. EPA will accept comments on the proposed amendmentsfor 45 days following their publication in the Federal Register, which is expected within a few days.

EPA said it acted after receiving three separate petitions for reconsideration of the final Dec. 1, 2015, Refinery Sector Rule. The petitions raised concerns regarding the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants requiring Maximum Available Control Technology standards, and NSPS for petroleum refineries, it said.

The proposed amendments specifically provide technical corrections that clarify the requirements for work practice standards, recordkeeping, and reporting, EPA said. It is expected to save refiners $77 million in capital investments in addition to the annual compliance costs.

Pruitt’s announcement produced immediate responses from the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers.

“EPA’s practical clarification to the language of the refinery rule’s regulatory requirements is a positive step that can help reduce uncertainty, while meeting our shared goal to protect public health,” said Howard J. Feldman, API senior regulatory and scientific affairs director.

Through development of cleaner transportation fuels and lower emissions at their facilities, refiners are contributing to a cleaner environment, including helping the US reduce ozone concentration by 17% since 2000, Feldman said.

AFPM separately applauded EPA’s decision to establish clarity and make necessary improvements to the refinery sector rule, which has been the subject of ongoing uncertainty in recent years. “Today’s action is another important step toward bringing needed balance to regulations, while maintaining protections for human health and the environment,” it said.