News

August 03, 2011

NOTICE OF PARTIALWITHDRAWAL OF FINAL AMENDMENTS TO AIR TOXICS STANDARDS FOR PETROLEUM REFINERIES ACTION

 On July 8, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a final notice withdrawing a
portion of the final air toxics standards for petroleum refineries.
 On January 16, 2009, former Administrator Johnson signed the amendments to the national
emission standards for petroleum refineries. In those amendments, EPA:
 Addressed the risk remaining after application of the maximum achievable control
technology (MACT) standards (residual risk),
 Provided the results of EPA’s 8-year review of developments in practices, processes, and
control technologies that have occurred during that time (technology review), and
 Amended the standards for petroleum refineries to add MACT standards for heat
exchange systems.
 Upon further review, EPA determined that the residual risk and technology reviews may not
accurately characterize the risk posed by this source category.
 The withdrawal will allow EPA to revisit residual risk policies, to formally request more
emissions information from the industry, and to better characterize refinery residual risk.
 Once EPA has collected additional data and performed additional analyses, EPA will provide the
public with an opportunity to comment on a new proposed rule that will be issued.
BACKGROUND
 The Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate toxic air pollutants from large industrial facilities in
two phases.
 The first phase is “technology-based,” where EPA develops standards for controlling the
emissions of air toxics from sources in an industry group (or source categories). The standards
for large sources are known as MACT standards, and are based on emissions levels that are
already being achieved by the better-controlled and lower-emitting sources in an industry.
 EPA finalized the petroleum refinery MACT standards in August of 1995. EPA estimates that
the 1995 standards reduced nationwide emissions of air toxics from petroleum refineries by
53,000 tons per year.
 In the second phase, the law requires EPA to review the technology-based standards and revise
them, if necessary, to account for improvements in air pollution controls and/or prevention. The
law directs EPA to repeat this assessment every 8 years.
 During the second phase of the program, EPA also is required to assess the remaining health
risks from each industry group for which it has set MACT standards and determine whether
more health-protective standards are necessary.
 EPA initially proposed to revise the 1995 rule in August 2007. EPA issued a supplemental
proposal in October 2008, based on information received since the initial proposal.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
 For further information about the final rule, contact Brenda Shine of EPA's Office of Air Quality
Planning and Standards at (919) 541-3608 or [email protected]

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