EPA Tightens Reporting Standards For Refinery, Chemical Plant Emissions

Feb 27, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled a lawsuit on measuring toxic emissions from refineries and chemical plants. The move comes after complaints by community groups in Texas and Louisiana.

The environmental advocacy group Louisiana Bucket Brigade is one of several that asked the EPA to update the method of determining just what leaks and how much from refineries and chemical plants. Brigade founding director Anne Rolfes says reporting rules in place since 1991 were too vague.

“The refineries don’t have to take into account the fact that when the wind blows really hard or when there’s a storm, like we have here in Louisiana, that their emissions might be greater in those situations," Rolfes said. "And so this new rule we hope will help the refineries to actually tell factual information about what they’re putting out into our air.”  

The EPA has until December to revise the reporting standards under the Clean Air Act.

Rolfes says the settlement will mean refineries and chemical plants will have to operate under more comprehensive guidelines when reporting a pollution incident.

“This is one small step of bringing their operations into the light of day,” she said.

Plaintiffs will also be asking the EPA to require updated monitoring equipment at all refineries.