Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Technology Transfer Network - OAR Policy and Guidance





  • On April 30, 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued proposed amendments to the new source performance standards (NSPS) for petroleum refineries and separate standards of performance for new, modified, or reconstructed process units at petroleum refineries.
Proposed Amendments to the Current NSPS
  • Proposed amendments to the current standards of performance for petroleum refineries would add a monitoring exemption for low-sulfur fuel gas streams. This fuel gas is used on site to power process equipment. The proposed amendments also would add and revise definitions of certain terms, and correct miscellaneous errors.
  • EPA's proposed standards reflect demonstrated improvements in emission control technologies and work practices that have occurred since promulgation of the current rule.
Proposed Standards for New, Modified and Reconstructed Process Units
  • The proposed standards for process units include emissions limits for fluid catalytic cracking units, fluid coking units, delayed coking units, process heaters and other fuel gas combustion devices, and sulfur recovery plants that are constructed, modified, or reconstructed after the date of proposal.
  • The standards also include proposed options for the control of emissions through work practices. Under one option, refineries would be required to prepare and implement written plans to minimize emissions from startups and shutdown of process units and from process malfunctions or upsets in amine treatment systems. Refineries also would be required to conduct a root-cause analysis of any release of sulfur dioxide emissions that is greater than 500 pounds per day. A final work practice would require facilities to depressure delayed coking units to a flare gas recovery system or a flare. An alternative option proposed by EPA would only require the last of these work practices and associated recordkeeping requirements -- the requirement to depressure coking units to the flare.
  • Compliance provisions would include a variety of monitoring alternatives suitable for the type of unit, control device, and pollutant. Plants would be required to monitor control device operating parameters, operate bag leak detection systems, or use continuous emission monitoring systems. Exemptions would be allowed for fluid catalytic cracking units and fluid coking units with low emissions of carbon monoxide and for low-sulfur streams from fuel gas combustion devices.
  • EPA will accept comments for 60 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register.
  • Over the next 5 years, the proposed standards for new process units are projected to reduce the combined emissions of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide emissions by nearly 56,000 tons per year.
  • The criteria pollutants emitted from petroleum refineries include particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides. Emissions of these compounds may cause or contribute to air pollutant emissions which endanger public health or welfare.
  • The total annual cost of the proposed standards is estimated to be about $54 million. Because of the large emissions reduction being achieved, the cost-effectiveness of the standards would be less than $1,000 per ton of pollutant removed. Benefits of the proposed rules are estimated at more than $950 million.

  • Section 111 of the Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate emissions of criteria pollutants from categories of major stationary sources. The new source performance standards must reflect the application of the best system of emissions reductions which (considering the cost of achieving the emissions reductions, any non-air quality health and environmental impact and energy requirements) EPA determines has been adequately demonstrated. This level of control is commonly referred to as the best demonstrated technology.
  • The Clean Air Act also requires EPA to review the standards every 4 years and revise the standards, as necessary, to reflect improvements in methods for reducing emissions.
  • The standards of performance for petroleum refineries were initially issued in 1974 and have been amended several times. The current standards apply to fluid catalytic cracking unit catalyst regenerators, fuel gas combustion devices, and Claus sulfur recovery plants.
  • EPA is bound by a consent decree deadline to issue proposed rules by April 30, 2007.
  • To download a copy the notice, go to EPA's Worldwide Web site at: http://www3.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t3pfpr.html.
  • Today's proposed rule and other background information are also available either electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, EPA's electronic public docket and comment system, or in hardcopy at the EPA Docket Center's Public Reading Room.
    • The Public Reading Room is located in the EPA Headquarters Library, Room Number 3334 in the EPA West Building, located at 1301 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. eastern standard time, Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays.
    • Visitors are required to show photographic identification, pass through a metal detector, and sign the EPA visitor log. All visitor materials will be processed through an X-ray machine as well. Visitors will be provided a badge that must be visible at all times.
    • Materials for this action can be accessed using Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0011.
  • HOW TO COMMENT: Comments should be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0011 and submitted by one of the following methods:
    • Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov),
    • e-mail (a-and-r-docket@epa.gov),
    • Mail (EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460), or
    • Hand delivery (EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC).
  • For further information about the proposed rules, contact Mr. Robert B. Lucas of EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at (919) 541-0884 or lucas.bob@epa.gov.

top of page

Jump to main content.