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New Analysis Highlights U.S. Refiners' Contribution to Clean Air

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New analysis released today concludes that emissions from U.S. fuel manufacturers have decreased substantially over the last two decades, even as U.S. petroleum fuel production increased during the same time period. These findings, combined with other Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data showing continuous and significant reductions in all criteria pollutants economy-wide, raise further questions regarding EPA's rationale for proposing new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) commissioned Sage Environmental Consulting to conduct the analysis. Using EPA data, the Sage report revealed a significant reduction in both criteria air pollutant (CAP) emissions and hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emissions during the period of investigation from 1990 to 2013.

The analysis also highlights that despite density and sulfur content of crude oil feedstocks increasing over 16 percent during the study period, the primary CAP emissions – sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds – fell by 91 percent, 67 percent and 69 percent, respectively. Total HAP emissions similarly declined by 66 percent.

"The numbers don't lie. EPA's data shows U.S. air quality continues to improve, despite arguments to the contrary, and domestic refiners have significantly contributed to that trend. The air is cleaner today than it ever has been and so are fuel manufacturing operations," AFPM President Charles T. Drevna said.

EPA is in the process of finalizing new emissions control standards to reduce ground-level ozone from the current level of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to between 65 and 70 ppb, a rulemaking that could reduce U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by as much as $140 billion per year according to a recent report. The current standard was enacted in 2008, but the Agency did not finalize implementation regulations until February 2015.

"The refining industry's demonstrated commitment to improving efficiencies and investing in technological advancements to process both heavier and lighter crude oils will guarantee further emissions reductions without overly burdensome new requirements," Drevna said. "It is important to recognize that ozone-forming emissions will continue to decrease due to the 2008 ozone standard, the implementation of which did not even begin until earlier this year. Revisiting the standard now typifies the proverbial analogy about moving the goal posts. Policy makers need to look at these facts before approving little-to-no benefit regulations that will impose additional costs on domestic manufacturers."

About AFPM

AFPM, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers is a trade association representing high-tech American manufacturers of virtually the entire U.S. supply of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, other fuels and home heating oil, as well as the petrochemicals used as building blocks for thousands of vital products in daily life. AFPM members make modern life possible and keep America moving and growing as they meet the needs of our nation and local communities, strengthen economic and national security, and support 2 million American jobs.

CONTACT: media@afpm.org

Source: American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers