A refinery just across the Oklahoma border in southeastern Kansas will get $12 million worth of upgrades over the next five years to reduce harmful emissions of sulfur dioxides and nitrous oxides.
Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing LLC entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to resolve alleged violations of air, Superfund and community right-to-know laws, federal officials announced Tuesday.
“This settlement puts CRRM on a level playing field with the more than 100 petroleum refineries that have agreed to implement aggressive pollution control measures, thereby reducing the threats posed by harmful emissions to area residents,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. “The agreement reaffirms our commitment to ensure that the petroleum refining industry complies with the nation’s Clean Air Act.”
Parent company CVR Energy Inc. also owns the refinery in Wynnewood.
CVR acquired the Coffeyville refinery out of bankruptcy from Farmland Industries in 2004.
“Coffeyville Resources remains committed to operating its facilities in a manner that meets or exceeds environmental regulations,” said Robert W. Haugen, CVR Energy’s executive vice president of refining operations. “During the past five years, we have invested more than $550 million in projects to streamline and modernize our operations and improve our environmental footprint at Coffeyville.
“With these latest capital commitments, our facility will reach state of the art in environmental controls and operate as an equal to any facility in the nation.”
UPDATE: David Ocamb, director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Sierra Club, said improvements at the Coffeyville refinery should improve air quality in Oklahoma.
“Any time a polluter reduces emissions it’s good news for the health of the community. SO2 and NOx contribute to smog which causes serious health risks like asthma and other respiratory illness. This plan to comply with Clean Air Act and to reduce SO2 and NOx means healthier air for Kansans and Oklahomans to breathe.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is dispatching investigators to Pennsylvania to identify the source of water contamination some think may be tied to natural gas exploration in the state’s Marcellus Shale, The Associated Press reports.
Some Pennsylvania officials are upset with EPA’s move into the state, insisting regulators there can adequately monitor oil and natural gas activity.
Residents, understandably, just want to know what is causing the contamination, but the jurisdictional debate is ongoing in a number of states, including Texas and Wyoming.
The industry is concerned a new wave of federal regulations could stifle domestic oil and gas development, as voiced last week by American Petroleum Institute Vice President for Regulatory and Economic Policy Kyle Isakower.
“We’re concerned that there are now 10 separate federal government agencies looking to study and potentially add new and unnecessary layers of regulations on hydraulic fracturing, the technology on which 70 percent of future gas wells depend. More regulation could increase costs and delays for operators, which could harm new projects, sacrificing thousands of new jobs and depriving government of billions in revenue.”
Who do you think should be charged with making sure oil and gas operations do not harm the environment? Do you trust regulators in your state or do you want the federal government more involved?