Greens Sue EPA over Oil Refinery Loopholes

Greens have gone to court, suing the Environmental Protection Agency in a challenge of the EPA’s regulatory loopholes on oil refinery emissions that they contend expose communities to unnecessary levels of cancer-causing pollution. Represented by Earthjustice, the community and environmental groups filed suit claiming the loopholes are unlawful.

Eleven groups filed a petition urging the EPA to take formal reconsideration action to remove the problems in the Final Rule that were added after the closing of a comment period.

“We call on the EPA to recognize the need to reconsider and remove these harmful exemptions, which were put inplace at the last minute without notice and comment,” said Emma Cheuse, a staff attorney for Earthjustice, a San Francisco-based nonprofit public interest law firm. “The Clean Air Act promises communities clean air every day of the week, not just some days. And communities need protection the most when oil refineries have spikes in cancer-causing pollution and dangerous upsets that threaten health and safety.”

She contends that in the ten years leading up to the EPA’s standards, 9 oil refineries had major malfunctions investigated by the Chemical Safety Board and “countless out-of-control pollution releases and smoking flare days when neighborhood children were forced to play in dirty air.”

Joined by Sparsh Khandeshi, a staff attorney for Environmental Integrity Project and legal counsel for the eleven groups who filed the petition, Cheuse argued that “any oil refinery that cannot handle its responsibility to protect local communities at all times just should not be operating.”


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