EPA delays greenhouse gas limits announcement for oil refineries; no new proposal date announced

LOS ANGELES , November 21, 2011 () – Under legal requirement by court settlement to announce greenhouse gas emissions restrictions on the oil industry by mid-December, the EPA says it needs more time to announce new standards, Reuters reported Nov. 21.

Sources from both the oil industry and the EPA said the deadline would not be met, and the EPA has indicated that it is still researching how to reduce emissions for the refineries. The EPA did not announce a proposal date for a new schedule.

The oil industry, who opposes the restrictions, says that while power plants have the option to burn cleaner energy sources such as natural gas, refineries are already employing natural gas for power, and that increasing restrictions will be costly for companies such as Exxon Mobil, Valero Energy and ConocoPhillips.

An unnamed source said oil refineries do have options for restricting emissions, such as replacing aging boilers and valves that leak methane, a big emissions contributor. This delay comes on the heels of other recent EPA delays on new rules for reducing smog and power plants emissions, after House Republicans argued the restrictions would hurt jobs during an already hurting economy.

Climate-warming emissions were at an all-time high in 2010, and will have residual effects for decades, the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization said. The U.S. has a stated goal of 17% reduced emissions by 2020 from 2005 measurements.

A failed energy and climate bill has burdened the EPA and Department of Transportation in charge of overseeing the pledge. CO2 emissions have risen almost 4% since 2010, and power plants are the largest global-warming contributor.

The primary source of this article is Reuters, London, England, Nov. 21, 2011.

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