“Though Governor Chris Gregoire three years ago declared that Washington would treat greenhouse-gas emissions as dangerous pollutants, the state is now fighting attempts to force it to reduce emissions from oil refineries.“
“Dangerous pollutants” sheesh!
In 2009, Gov. Chris Gregoire declared that Washington would treat climate-changing gases as harmful pollutants that must be curbed.
So environmental groups were surprised two years later when the Department of Ecology refused to use existing state rules to curb greenhouse gases from Puget Sound’s five oil refineries. Refineries, after all, are Washington’s second-largest non-vehicle source of emissions.
Environmentalists sued the state and won. A federal judge this spring told Ecology it must hunt for ways to reduce refinery emissions.
But Ecology, joined by the petroleum industry, has appealed the decision — and is rewriting the very rules the judge relied upon to reach her conclusion.
“They’re doing everything they can to avoid having to do this,” said Becky Kelley, with the Washington Environmental Council, one of the groups that filed suit.
“Until we sued them they weren’t doing anything, and they’ve pretty much told us they’re not intending to do anything. They don’t want to do this job, and I don’t get it. I think people should be angry. It’s not right.”
The state maintains the judge made a mistake, and Washington never intended to regulate greenhouse gases at refineries. Instead it wants the federal government to lead.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency is already working on national emissions rules for refineries, but those rules would only be triggered when facilities seek to upgrade. Emissions rules for refinery facilities that want to continue as-is remain several years away — provided there aren’t extended delays.