The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing some standards that regulate petroleum refineries. Houston Public Radio’s Capella Tucker reports officials are coming here to get input from communities living around the refineries.
The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to regulate toxic air pollutants from large industrial facilities. This public hearing is reviewing one of the standards having to do with technology and health risk. Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention Executive Director Matthew Tejada says industry needs to keep up with technology.
“That’s the reason they are supposed to review this every eight years because as technology improves they have to keep strengthening the standard to meet the improvements in technology that is out there.”
EPA Spokeswoman Alison Davis says the proposed rule is looking at a couple of different equipment upgrades as well as suggestions for work procedures that would reduce emissions. Davis says they want to hear more. And that includes looking at health risks.
“We go back and do a residual risk review and we do analysis to look at what risks might remain after the standard was implemented and based on what those are, whether we have to take additional action to protect public health and the environment.”
Local environmental groups would like to see additional steps taken. The Clean Air Act sets the maximum allowable incidence of cancer at one in one million. GHASP’s Tejada says the standard is different for communities near refineries.
“For some reason the EPA has put in this air toxic regulation that it’s OK for people living in close proximity to oil refineries to have 100 cases of cancer in one million people. So the standard is 100 times looser for the people who are getting the maximum exposure from air toxins.”
The public hearing will begin at 9 a.m. at the Hartman Park Community Center at 9311 East Avenue P. EPA will continue taking written comments from the public through December 28th. More information can be found at KUHF-dot-org. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.
To download a copy of the proposed rule:
EPA NESHAP Public Hearing
Tuesday, November 27th from 9 am to 9 pm
Hartman Park Community Center
9311 East Avenue P
Houston, Texas 77012
How to comment:
Comments should be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2003-0146 (for petroluem refineries) or EPA-HQ-OAR-2003-0147 (for benzene waste operations).