EPA proposes easing air-pollution rules for oil refineries and other plants

The Bush administration EPA has had some trouble with the whole protecting-the-environment thing, but it has mastered one important skill: burying news. Latest exhibit: On Friday, just before a weekend that everyone knew would be saturated with 9/11 remembrances, the EPA proposed easing air-pollution requirements for oil refineries and other industrial facilities. The plan would change the rules about when plant operators have to install up-to-date pollution controls, making it easier for them to avoid the upgrades. The EPA claims to be streamlining the pollution-control process, and the oil industry approves, saying the change would lead to boosted refining capacity. But enviros say it’s just another loophole and industry giveaway. “Common sense just tells you that if you allow the oil industry and others to find new ways to bypass needs for pollution controls, that will mean more pollution,” says Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch.