Proposed oil refinery rules prompt comments at California hearing

Residents of modest neighborhoods near three of the largest oil refineries in California called on the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to crack down on plant emissions, saying the pollution is choking their children and endangering their health.
By JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press Published: July 17, 2014
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— Residents of modest neighborhoods near three of the largest oil refineries in California called on the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to crack down on plant emissions, saying the pollution is choking their children and endangering their health.

Residents of the oil-rich Wilmington area of Los Angeles were among 15 speakers to address the morning session of an EPA hearing about a proposed rule requiring stricter emission controls and monitoring standards.

Several speakers said they have suffered from asthma and other ailments they believe were caused by the refineries near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

“My own family suffers from asthma,” said Evelyn Knight, who has lived in neighboring Long Beach since 1968. “I had a brother die from lung cancer who never smoked. Many friends have come down with cancer.”

EPA’s Proposal

The EPA proposal would require the petroleum industry adopt new technology to better monitor emissions of the carcinogen benzene, upgrade storage tank emission controls and ensure waste gases are properly destroyed.

Refineries would also have to improve perimeter monitoring to get a clearer picture of how much toxic pollution is drifting into communities.

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