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  • Allison Stalker

EPA to Review Emission Factors at Refineries and Chemical Plants

Updated: Aug 29

A lawsuit was brought against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by Air Alliance Houston, Community In-Power and Development Association (CIDA), Louisiana Bucket Brigade, and Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS) – represented by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). The lawsuit was brought in order to drive the EPA to review emission factors used to calculate toxic emissions from refineries and chemical plants.


The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to review and revise, if necessary, the emission factors every three years, however this has not been done for over 20 years. Specifically, lawsuit called for the EPA to review the methods used to estimate emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from liquid storage tanks, industrial flares, and wastewater treatment systems.


A settlement was reached on February 11, 2014 in which the EPA agreed to review the formulas. In 2010, U.S. refineries reported releases of 37,895 tons of VOCs. Recent studies from the EPA, however, have shown that actual emissions at refineries range from 10 to 100 times higher than reported estimates.


“To think that some sources may be emitting one hundred times the pollution they report is frightening,” said Adrian Shelley, executive director, Air Alliance Houston. “How can we hope to protect our health if we don’t know what’s out there? Let’s get the number right, then we’ll work on reducing them.”


EES can help with calculating and reporting emissions from refineries, chemical plants, and any other facility. If you would like more information, you can contact us here.

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