26 April 2019 - Thirteen U.S. oil refineries released the cancer-causing chemical benzene in concentrations that exceed federal limits last year, three more than in 2019, according to the government data published on Wednesday by the Environmental Integrity Projectthe Environmental Integrity Project - Green Group.
The study is based on the second full year of data reported by United States refineries since the U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyU.S. Environmental Protection Agency began requiring continuous monitoring of air pollutants around plants to protect nearby communities, many of which are disproportionately poor, black and Hispanic.
If the Biden EPA wants to act on its environmental justice promises, these neighborhoods near refineries are a good place to start, Benjamin Kunstman told Reuters; a staff engineer with the Environmental Integrity Project.
According to the report, benzene concentrations consistently exceeded the EPA standard of nine microgram per cubic meter of air at the fence lines of eight of the 13 refineries identified by the EIP. The EPA requires facilities that exceed this threshold to take corrective action, the report said.
The group also found that one of the refineries exceeding the limits were the former PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia Energy Solutions facilities in Philadelphia, which was shut down in 2019, but continued to pump the chemical out while its tanks were emptying.
Last year the U.S. EPAU.S. EPA added that it is important to note that concentration levels of benzene at the perimeter of a refinery do not reflect benzene levels in the community.
The agency added that its limitations are high in order to provide ample opportunity for early action.
The highest emitter of benzene in 2020 was the delek Krotz Springs, Louisiana refinery, which was averaged more than 31 micrograms per cubic meter last year - more than three times the EPA action level according to EIP.
'Delek is focused on serving as a supportive steward of the environment and a good member of the communities in which we operate, said a Delek spokesperson. The spokesperson said Delek has implemented a number of effective changes in September 2020 and anticipates the rolling 12 month average will fall below nine micrograms per cubic meter by this summer.
Other refineries on the list were located in PBF Chalmette, Phillips 66 Lake Charles, PhillipsPhillips 66 Alliance and Shell Norco. Total Port Arthur, Galveston Bay Marathon and Citgo Corpus Christi East exceed the federal level in Texas.
The other refineries were Shell Chemical Mobile in Kentucky, HollyFrontier Lovington and HollyFrontier Artesia in New Mexico and Marathon Catlettsburg in Alabama.
At the time of publication, none of the refiners except Delek responded to a request for comments. Another year, i like to think about when I feel it's right to go out of the country.