Last year the EPA released new air protections decreasing the amount of pollution oil refineries can emit and reducing some of the health threats faced by millions of Americans living in the shadows of oil refineries. This was a big win for communities breathing toxic air from oil refineries.
The problem is that Big Oil got through some last-minute loopholes in the rule.
First-time-ever national “fenceline” air monitoring is now required on the perimeter where pollution leaves oil refinery property and pours into neighboring communities. The monitors will measure the dangerous pollutant benzene, and if levels are too high, refineries will be required to take action to reduce their emissions.
But now the EPA has weakened this requirement by letting refineries reduce and even stop monitoring under certain circumstances. And more, the EPA has inserted exemptions that will allow refineries to release unlimited amounts of toxic air pollution from smoking flares and pressure-relief devices.
Communities deserve information about how much pollution they’re being exposed to, from every refinery. And communities need strong limits on toxic air that apply every day, all the time. Otherwise Big Oil will use these loopholes to escape the basic health protections all of our kids need and deserve.
We’re in courts across the nation to protect the rights of communities exposed to excessive air pollution. We worked with the Environmental Integrity Project and local communities to compel the EPA to secure this important rulemaking. The next step is for you to stand with us and fight Big Oil’s attempts to weaken public health protections for all Americans, which will be felt most in communities of color and low-income communities especially burdened by refinery pollution.
The oil industry knows the dangers and is fighting protections that will reduce exposure to toxic emissions. The EPA needs to be held accountable to put people first.
Tell EPA administrator Gina McCarthy that she must stand up to Big Oil, protect children and every community’s right to breathe clean, healthy air, and end all special treatment for oil refinery corporations at this urgent time.
December 6, 2016 Action Alert ID# 456
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