Bay Area air quality regulators adopt stringent refinery particulate emissions standard
Reuters – July 21
The governing board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (District) on Wednesday adopted stringent standards for fine particulate emissions at Bay Area refineries. The board’s 19-3 vote means that some refineries in the area, including Chevron Corp’s Richmond plant and PBF Energy Inc’s Martinez refinery, will have to install wet gas scrubbers to reduce particulate emissions from their fluid catalytic cracking units within five years. The new requirement is expected to cut PBF Energy’s and Chevron’s particulate matter emissions from these units by about 70%, the District estimates. The refineries, along with unions representing refinery workers, opposed the new rule, citing the costs of compliance and the potential impact of the rule on union members’ jobs.
San Francisco embraces aggressive new climate change goals
San Francisco Chronicle – July 21
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved new goals to reduce greenhouse gas emission reductions in the city by at least 61% below 1990 levels by 2030, and to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions produced in the city by 2040. The city’s previous goals aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2025, a target already reached in 2019. The Supervisors also want to reduce emissions generated outside city borders for products and services consumed in San Francisco - such as emissions from air travel through San Francisco International Airport - by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.
Albertsons to pay $5.1M for violations of refrigerant management program
MyNewsLA – July 14
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) last Wednesday announced a $5.1 million settlement agreement with the Albertsons grocery chain for alleged violations of a state program that regulates greenhouse gas emissions from large stationary industrial refrigerant systems, with some of the funds to be used to install air filtration systems in Southern California schools. During regular inspections under the Refrigerant Management Program, CARB investigators found that Albertsons failed to comply with the program’s requirements across Albertsons stores in California from 2016-2018, according to a statement issued by the agency. Violations included failure to audit and calibrate automatic leak detection equipment on an annual basis, and failure to ensure the timely repair of all detected refrigerant leaks.
Anti-plastic waste initiative approved for California ballot
Associated Press – July 19
A California initiative that would require state regulators to reduce plastic waste has qualified for the November 2022 ballot, officials said Monday. If passed, the law would compel the state to take multiple steps to reduce plastic waste, including requiring that single-use plastic packaging, containers, and utensils be reusable, recyclable, or compostable. Producers of single-use plastic packaging would be taxed, with the revenue allocated for recycling and environmental programs. In addition, the state Legislature would be prohibited from reducing funding to specified state environmental agencies below 2019 levels.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to restore protections for northern spotted owl habitat
The Hill – July 20
The Biden administration is proposing to restore protections for millions of acres of forest habitat of the northern spotted owl. In a Federal Register notice published this Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined there was “insufficient rationale and justification” behind the Trump-era removal of protections. The affected 3.4 million acres stretches across nearly 45 counties in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California.