Historic first vote to cap refinery greenhouse gas emissions scheduled for June 21

by Carla West, 350bayarea.org

This is really it—the culmination of a very long and often difficult effort to cap local refinery pollution.  On June 21st (save the date!) the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District are expected to adopt Rule 12-16, retailored at the last hearing to focus exclusively on greenhouse emissions.  Be prepared to throw your own cap in the air when the vote is tallied and history is made.  This rule will be the first in the state and in the nation to regulate local refinery-emitted GHGs.

Regulating criteria pollution—included within the original proposal for 12-16—will not be considered at this time.  But it will be addressed in other rule-making, including Rule 13-1, to be presented by staff for consideration in a few months.

Air District staff dropped its opposition to capping GHGs after the Air Resources Board delivered a game-changing letter on April 5th.   Richard Corey, ARB’s executive officer, declared his support for Rule 12-16 and Rule 13-1, the related staff proposal to limit greenhouse gases via an emissions-per-barrel approach.  “We support the intent of these rules and agree more can and must be done to deliver real reductions in pollutants that are impacting the health of residents living near refineries,” Corey wrote.  “We agree both approaches could help to ensure that these sources do not add to the state’s overall emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria or toxic pollutants.”

The co-pollutants emitted by refineries along with greenhouse gases have very local impacts, which state policy is beginning to address.  A growing body of research shows that people who live closest to refineries are most heavily impacted by these toxic and criteria emissions.  Bay Area public health experts have estimated that a cap on local refinery emissions could save 800–3,000 lives regionally over 40 years.  Without it, fenceline communities would face an 8–12 times worse per capita mortality impact.

Rule 13-1 does not currently call for directly controlling particulate matter and could allow refinery-wide emissions to increase.  Making sure that rule is loophole-free is our next big struggle.  But for now, this first step towards GHG caps is a very giant step in the right direction.


June 21, 2017 at 8:45am – 1pm


Air District Headquarters
375 Beale St
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States
Google map and directions


Richard Gray · richardgraysart@gmail.com

Source: http://www.350bayarea.org/baaqmd_bd_170621

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