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Help Urge Air District to Pass Toxic Emissions Rule
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 @ 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
A new clean air regulation is coming up for approval by the Air District’s Board of Directors, and it needs our support. Rule 11-18 aims to reduce health risks from cancer-causing toxic air pollutants like heavy metals, diesel PM and benzene. These are emitted by industry and disproportionately impact vulnerable Bay Area communities. The regulation will mandate extensive risk screenings and health risks assessments (HRAs), incorporating recently adopted risk management guidelines and health risk values from the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). Once data is collected and analyzed, industries emitting high levels of toxics will be required to lower them. This will mean reduced operation, system redesign, or installation of Best Available Retrofit Control Technology for Toxics.
The regulation requires the heaviest industrial polluters, like the Bay Area’s five refineries, to reduce their risk of causing cancer from the current level of 100 cases per million, down to 10 per million. It covers hundreds of industries—about 1,000 Bay Area facilities, including chemical and cement plants, foundries, hospitals, landfills, crematoria, sewage treatment and power plants. Because of the rule’s wide application, the Air District is prioritizing certain facilities to complete the HRA process and submit their mitigation proposals. Refineries will be required to do this by 2020. Other facilities will have longer to comply. Once procedures for mitigation by Best Available Retrofit Control Technologies are approved, then facilities are given an additional three to six years to complete implementation.
When adopted, this regulation will be the most health-protective regulation in the nation for toxic pollutants.
One key limitation of the proposal, however, is that the Air District and OEHHA currently have no baseline for developing a HRA for refinery particulate matter (PM 2.5). This is currently under discussion within the Air District and its Technical Advisory Council. Our support for the 11-18 rule-making process must include strong demands for complete transparency, as well as the involvement of frontline communities in developing a health risk assessment for PM 2.5.
In spite of the generous timeline for compliance, the affected industries—led by Bay Area refineries—will strenuously oppose adoption of the rule, citing as usual the prohibitive cost and inconvenience of meeting the new standards. They are expected to send large numbers of advocates to the adoption hearing to plead for delay or outright opposition. We need to encourage the Board to do the right thing in spite of heavy industry pressure. Please join us at the hearing to voice your support!
All documents related to Rule 11-18 can be found here.
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