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Environmental Integrity Project Releases Citizen Guide to Participation in Oil Refinery Permitting
by Ben Wakefield
A Handbook for Citizen Participation in the Permitting of Oil Refineries under the New Source Review Provisions of the Clean Air Act.
Dec 10, 2007
Click here to download file. (pdf)
Petroleum refineries emit millions of pounds of air pollution that poses a serious risk of harm to human health and the environment and impairs the quality of life for the people living in nearby communities. Carcinogens and other pollutants are released directly into the predominantly low-income and minority neighborhoods that typically share the refinery fencelines, and many refineries are located in areas that already do not meet federal air quality standards set to protect public health. Human health effects caused by refinery pollution include premature death, cancer, lung damage, and cardiovascular and central nervous system problems, and the environmental consequences range from acid rain to global warming.
Despite these significant consequences to public health and the environment, the public faces substantial barriers to participation in the permitting of oil refineries. Chief among these barriers are the burdensome tasks of wading through technically daunting proposed permits and navigating the often Byzantine permitting processes; that is, determining when and how to be effectively heard. This Handbook presents a "plain English" explanation of the permitting process and how to participate, as well as a concise description of what to look for - and ask for - in a permit to operate an oil refinery under the Clean Air Act.