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EPA punts on GHG regs for refineries

11.22.2011  | 

The US Environmental Protection Agency was facing a mid-December deadline to propose regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries. With that date drawing near, the EPA acknowledged it was in a fourth and long situation.

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Beware: tortured football analogy ahead.... The US Environmental Protection Agency was facing a mid-December deadline to propose regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from oil refineries.  With that date drawing near, the EPA acknowledged it was in a fourth and long situation.  Instead of attempting to release some poorly construed regs on the day in question (which would be akin to running a draw in this fourth and long football analogy scenario),  the EPA elected to punt.  A spokesperson for the government agency told Reuters:

"EPA expects to need more time to complete work on greenhouse gas pollution standards for oil refineries."

The EPA is working with the litigants to develop a new schedule to replace the current mid-December date for a rule proposal, the spokesperson added.

The delay is the latest setback for the agency's new raft of clean air rules on everything from smog to mercury pollution that are heavily opposed by industry.

The EPA has not told refiners exactly how it plans to cut emissions, and that figuring out how to do so is taking additional time, an oil industry source said.

"How they are going to regulate greenhouse gases, they are not sharing that with us," the source said.

The petroleum industry says it is more difficult to cut emissions from refineries than it is from power plants, the EPA's top target of emissions. Many power utilities can switch from coal, which emits large amounts of carbon dioxide when burned, to burning cleaner natural gas. Refineries, however, mostly already run on natural gas.

The full Reuters article can be found here.



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