Rules take aim at refinery emissions

Two emission reduction rules passed Wednesday by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s board of directors, along with rules passed last year, are expected to reduce pollution from oil refineries by 15 percent from current levels, air district officials said.

Eighteen board members voted in favor, three were absent and three voted no on regulation 9, rule 14 and regulation 12, rule 15.

Regulation 9, rule 14 aims to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, which contribute to acid rain.

The rule specifically aims to reduce emissions from coke calcining, which converts solids left over from the refining process into materials used to make steel, paint and other products.

Regulation 12, rule 15 requires refinery officials to improve their reporting of emissions estimates, known as emissions inventories.

The rule will also allow district staff to track the types of crude oil refineries use and improve real-time monitoring of emissions at refinery property lines to protect the public.

A goal of air district officials is to reduce emissions from the five Bay Area refineries by 20 percent by 2020, district director of meteorology, measurement and rules Eric Stevenson said.