Council Urges EPA to Reduce Hazardous Emissions from Shale Operations
October 18, 2012 - On Monday the Clean Air Council and other environmental groups submitted a petition for reconsideration to the EPA. The petition urges EPA to reconsider certain aspects of the final action taken on August 16, 2012, entitled Oil and Natural Gas Sector: National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants. The petition states that the final rule fails to protect the health of the most-exposed communities and does not satisfy the Clean Air Act. Petitioners urged EPA to grant reconsideration and resolve the following problems without delay:
- EPA must reconsider its failure to evaluate and set limits on hazardous air pollutant emissions from all points within the Oil and Natural Gas source categories, and perform a new rulemaking to set limits for all missing emissions.
- Because EPA's lack of fatal to its rulemaking decisions, they must grant reconsideration to collect adequate, representative and reliable emission data for the entire Oil and Natural Gas source categories.
- EPA must grant reconsideration to evaluate and set the required maximum available control technology limit for storage vessels without the potential for flash emissions, which its final rule unlawfully delayed, due to a professed lack of necessary data.
- For small glycol dehydrators, EPA must grant reconsideration to strengthen the limit EPA set on benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene emissions, by setting a standard that follows the Clean Air Act requirement to base the floor on emission reductions achieved by the best performers on average. And, EPA must set a limit on all other pollutants which small dehydrators emit, in addition to those four.
- For large glycol dehydrators, EPA must remove the benzene-only 0.9 mg/yr limit, which allows sources to emit unlimited amounts of other hazardous air pollutants, in violation of the Clean Air Act.
- For equipment leaks, EPA must grant reconsideration to set limits that follow the best performers' significant leak reduction achievements, illustrated by local air district standards and the Natural Gas Star Program, which EPA unlawfully ignored based on cost.
- Reconsideration is also required to revoke the last-minute decision EPA made to weaken reporting requirements for malfunctions, as part of the unlawful affirmative defense for civil penalties, which EPA must remove.
EPA must also grant reconsideration to consider and evaluate a wealth of new information that has come in since the comment period closed, including:
- EPA's own 2012 study on flare efficiency
- EPA's own proposed uniform standards (for storage vessels, equipment leaks, and control devices), and
- new air monitoring studies showing higher levels of benzene and other pollutants in the air, requiring more protective action by EPA
Finally to full fill the EPA's commitment to fully evaluate and assure environmental justice, EPA must grant reconsideration to perform an adequate and meaningful environmental justice analysis, which it failed to include in this rulemaking.
|Oil and Gas Recon Petition 10-15-12_FINAL.pdf||864.49 KB|
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