Bay Area regulators are expected to approve the nation’s first firm limits on greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries.
And some of the environmentalists who spent years pushing for the caps are furious.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District will vote on the proposal, which would set specific annual limits on the amount of greenhouse gases each of the region’s five refineries could produce.
The problem lies in how those limits are set.
As originally proposed, the caps reflected the average annual emissions from each plant, plus a little room on top to account for year-to-year variability. The idea was not to cut emissions, but rather, to keep them from rising substantially.
But, under changes proposed by district staff late last week, the cap at each refinery would be raised to account for upgrade or expansion projects that the district has already approved but that have not yet been built or started operations.
“It’s a matter of not only fairness but also legal necessity,” said Eric Stevenson, the district’s director of meteorology, measurement and rules. “We still expect to be sued by the industry. But because of that, we want to make sure we have the most legally defensible rule possible.”
As a result, however, the emissions from individual refineries could rise 25 percent or more above their current levels, according to the district’s staff report. Environmental groups call that the equivalent of building another refinery.
The truth is, environmentalists got caught trying to scam the system and block approved refinery expansion projects. Now they’re made. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is right to ignore this feckless behavior.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle