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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Air Actions, California

San Francisco Bay Area Refinery Title V Permits

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On August 13, 2003, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District ("BAAQMD" or "District") submitted for EPA review title V permits for the following five refineries in the San Francisco Bay Area:
  • Chevron Products Company in Richmond
  • ConocoPhillips Company in Rodeo
  • Shell Oil Company in Martinez
  • Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company in Martinez
  • Valero Refining Company in Benicia

On September 26, 2003, EPA commented on the five permits. The letter included general comments relevant to all of the refineries and comments specific to the Chevron, Tesoro, and Valero permits. EPA's second comment letter, dated October 31, 2003, included specific comments on the permits for ConocoPhillips and Shell.

The BAAQMD issued the final permits for all five refineries on December 1, 2003. However, on December 12, 2003, EPA notified the District that it was reopening the permits because the District did not follow the proper procedure in issuing the permits. EPA's letter required the District to resubmit proposed permits to the Agency for its 45-day review.

The BAAQMD released revised draft permits for public comment on March 1, 2004. During the public comment period, EPA reiterated the comments made on October 31, 2003, regarding the ConocoPhillips and Shell permits, and provided the BAAQMD with an update to its September 26, 2003 comments regarding the permits for Chevron, Tesoro, and Valero. In letters dated July 28, 2004 and August 2, 2004, EPA provided the BAAQMD with additional information related to some of the outstanding issues.

On August 25, 2004, the BAAQMD submitted revised proposed permits to EPA for review. Upon review of the permits, EPA determined that certain parts did not meet Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements. As a result, on October 8, 2004, EPA objected to the proposed permits and invoked its reopening authority under the CAA and 40 CFR Part 70. At the same time, EPA also provided comments on the permits. The District issued the final revised permits on December 16, 2004. In addition, the District proposed revisions to the permits on February 4, 2005 to address EPA's previous objections.

EPA's letters to the District are provided below:

Current Activity

Public Petitions to the Administrator

The title V operating permit program allows the public to petition EPA to object to specific permits. Prior to issuance of the initial permits in 2003, EPA received thirteen such petitions. The petitions and EPA's responses are available in the Agency's Title V Petition Database.

Prior to issuance of the revised permits on December 16, 2004, EPA received five additional public petitions. EPA's Acting Administrator Stephen Johnson signed orders in response to these petitions on March 15, 2005. EPA has found that the permits generally meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act; however, in some cases, EPA is granting the petitioners' requests for an objection. In these cases, EPA is directing the District to improve the permits or to re-assess whether they are adequate. In other cases, EPA is denying the petitioners' requests for an objection because the petitioners did not demonstrate that the permits are not in compliance with the CAA or that a procedural flaw resulted in a material deficiency in the content of the permits. The orders responding to the petitions are provided below.

Petitioner: Our Children's Earth, represented by Golden Gate University
Refinery: Tesoro

Petitioner: Our Children's Earth, represented by Golden Gate University
Refinery: Valero

Petitioner: Communities for a Better Environment
Refinery: ConocoPhillips

Petitioner: Communities for a Better Environment
Refinery: Chevron

Petitioners: Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Local 342, Heat and Frost Insulators/Asbestos Workers Local 16, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 302, the Boilermakers Union Local 549, and the Laborers Union Local 324; represented by Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo
Refinery: Chevron

Permit Reopening

In a separate action, EPA is also reopening the permits to correct additional flaws in the Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Tesoro, and Valero permits, and to address issues in the Shell permit, for which EPA did not receive a petition. EPA has independently made additional determinations regarding the title V permits. These determinations are prompting the Agency to take this separate action while it is objecting to the permits in response to the public petitions. EPA's reopening letter will be provided below when it is available.

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