EPA rejects stricter emissions standards for U.S. refineries

Following a review of the refinery pollution rules it issued in 1995, the U.S. EPA has decided not to improve the 12-year-old rules because the analysis found that “the risks to human health and the environment are low enough that no further controls are warranted.” As the EPA sees it, they could do two things: nothing, or maybe consider perhaps requiring refineries to curtail some of the pollution from their storage tanks and wastewater treatment plants. EPA maintains that the do-nothing plan makes sense “because the risks are acceptably low.” Greens, however, see it differently. “In the last 12 years there have been numerous studies showing that health risks are greater than we originally thought” in some cases, said Alice McKeown of the Sierra Club. “The scientific evidence shows that these standards are not protective of public health as required under the Clean Air Act.” About 90 million people in the U.S. live within 30 miles of a refinery, just not anyone who will be missed by the Bush administration.