Illinois EPA Ordered to Reevaluate Permit for Refinery Expansion
June 2, 2008
Burning and extracting fuel from tar sands not only produces much higher levels of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants than traditional petroleum fuel, it also causes the destruction of some of Canada's most ancient forests and vital boreal ecosystems. Located in geologic deposits spread out across Alberta, Canada, the inefficient process of removing fuel from tar sands wastes exorbitant amounts of energy and water. According to a report released by Environmental Defence of Canada, tar sands mining uses twice the amount of water that the entire city of Calagary uses in one year. The report goes on to point out that "at least 90% of the fresh water used in the oil sands ends up in tailing ponds so toxic that propane cannons are used to keep ducks from landing."
The Sierra Club, along with the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), won an important victory in the battle against this destructive, wasteful process. On June 2, 2008 the Environmental Protect Agency Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) ordered Illinois regulators to conduct a new review of ConocoPhillip’s plans to expand their Illinois refinery so that it could process tar sands. The Club and other groups challenged the state permit for the proposed expansion, stating how the facility’s use of this dirty fuel would increase emissions of acid rain-causing sulfur oxides (SOx), hazardous volatile organic compounds, and carbon monoxide (CO). This case is part of a broader campaign by environmental groups to promote clean energy solutions and move beyond this dangerous perpetuation of reliance on carbon-intensive fuel; as stated by EIP Executive Director Eric Shaeffer, extracting fuel from tar sands "is a very intensely wasteful way to feed an oil habit."
Details and Documents:
U.S. EPA Rejects ConocoPhillips Refinery Expansion
June 10, 2008, Environmental News Service
See other "Fighting Dirty Oil and Promoting Green Transportation" cases.