A new study provides detailed analysis of the specific ways Bay Area refineries are damaging our health. Air Pollution in the Bay Area’s Refinery Corridor, by the national research organization Fracktracker Alliance, reports that the petrochemical industry is the largest stationary source of health-harming pollutants in the Bay Area.
Other key “takeaways” include:
- The Chevron Richmond refinery has the largest refining capacity and emits the most hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).*
- The Tesoro refinery in Martinez and the Shell refinery in Martinez emit the most HAPs per barrel of oil (based on refining capacity).
- The Valero refinery in Benicia, the Tesoro refinery in Martinez, and the Shell refinery in Martinez emit the most criteria air pollutants (CAPs).**
- If refineries increase their capacity and process more crude, the emissions of these various pollutants will invariably increase.
- New emissions rules need to prioritize ambient air quality and hold the Air District and elected officials accountable for policies that increase risk.
* A list of dozens of air pollutants identified as dangerous by the EPA
** The big six dangerous air pollutants first listed by the federal government: ozone, nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxides, lead, particulate matter, and carbon monoxide.
The report details the specific pollutants issued from each refinery and the ways each pollutant harms human health.
The Fracktracker Alliance issued this report April 28 specifically to provide data showing the need for immediate numerical caps on refinery emissions. A worker-community alliance has been demanding these caps for more than a year. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) staff has been delaying consideration of this demand, but is finally scheduled to vote on the issue of numerical caps in a meeting of the BAAQMD board June 15.
The full report is available here.