Air District takes big step forward on regulating refinery emissions

Boy using inhalerOn October 15th, the Bay Area Air Quality District took a big step toward requiring the 5 Bay Area refineries to decrease emissions of pollutants that damage our health. Resisting industry opposition, BAAQMD directors voted unanimously to push forward with proposed rules that would cap refinery emission of toxic air pollutants and green house gasses, directing staff to develop strategies to cut emissions by 20% by 2020, showing incremental progress annually.

Bay Area refineries are significantly more polluting than those in Southern California—but they don't need to be. NRDC scientist Diane Bailey runs down the numbers and outlines the consequences of the BBAQMD vote in her blog post.

SF Gate quotes BAAQMD director John Gioia, declaring, “Our goal is to have the cleanest refineries in the nation, here in the Bay Area. (...) My belief is that through best available technologies, emissions can continue to decline over time.”

The staff’s recommendations must be presented to the board no later than December, and would require a vote of the 22-member board to be adopted. Keep watching. Stay engaged.