California regulators have directed two of the state's largest oil refineries to cut their air pollution that will require modifications at the plants.
This means Chevron Corp's Richmond plant and PBF Energy Inc's Martinez refinery, will have to install wet gas scrubbers to reduce pollution from their fluid catalytic cracking units (FCCU) within five years.
The new requirement is expected to cut PBF and Chevron’s particulate matter emissions from its cat crackers by about 70%, the air quality district estimates.
Refineries emit heavy amounts of pollution as crude oil is processed into fuel, and small particulate matter - consisting of solid or liquid airborne particles - is among the most harmful pollutants. Prolonged exposure is known to lead to respiratory, pulmonary and cognitive health problems.
FCCUs, which turn heavier crude oil into lighter petroleum products including gasoline, are among the largest polluters of fine particulate matter in the San Francisco Bay-area.
Under the amended rule, refineries with FCCUs must limit annual emissions of particulate matter to 0.01 grain per dry standard cubic foot within the next five years. Chevron and PBF, the refiners expected to be most affected by the rule change, urged regulators to consider a less stringent 0.02 limit by 2023. Valero Energy Corp's Benicia refinery already has a wet gas scrubber.
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