The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule to control toxic air emissions at petroleum refineries and provide information about refinery emissions to communities surrounding these facilities.
According to EPA, this rule targets about 142 large petroleum refineries in the United States. The rule will require refineries to monitor and report levels of benzene, a cancer-causing compound, within their facilities and property boundaries. Refineries would be required to cut emission levels if they exceed those that are established in the rule.
Implementing this rule at refineries will cost about $283 million, with an annualized cost of about $63 million. EPA says these final standards will only have a small impact on the cost of petroleum products.
EPA says the rule will result in a reduction of 5,200 tons per year of toxic air pollutants and 50,000 tons per year of volatile organic compounds. The agency hopes to fully implement this rule by 2018.
EPA adds these rules might improve the communities near refineries, as more than 6 million people live within three miles of refineries in the United States. It says this might help to reduce cancer incidents related to refinery emissions.