API's 'Tsunami' Warning

New EPA regs could put some refineries out of business, increase gas prices, more

WASHINGTON -- American Petroleum Institute (API) director of regulatory and scientific affairs Howard Feldman warned of a "veritable tsunami" of new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air regulations for refineries that could "put some refineries out of business, diminish U.S. fuel manufacturing capacity and increase our reliance on imported fuels" in a conference call last week.

"The president himself has called on federal agencies to take into account the impact of regulations on jobs and the economy," Feldman said. "EPA should follow through by ensuring that their regulatory proposals are necessary, practical and fair."

Four U.S. refineries closed last year, said Feldman. He said that significant new compliance costs on top of what existing regulations have imposed would make a difficult operating environment for refineries even more challenging.

"Given that the Clean Air Act was simply not designed to address greenhouse gases, if EPA is going to proceed, it is critical that the process be open and transparent," he said.

He called on the EPA not issue a Tier 3 vehicle emission proposal before there is "a full airing of the impacts, costs and benefits of further reductions of sulfur and vapor pressure in gasoline."

New Tier 3 requirements could boost the cost of making gasoline by up to 25 cents per gallon, close up to seven U.S. refineries and actually increase carbon dioxide emissions, according to a study by Baker and O'Brien.

API represents more than 490 oil and natural gas companies.