Jean Tepperman of the East Bay Express has the rundown on Tuesday’s Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) meeting.
You can find the meeting agenda, minutes and video here.
Air Board Okays New Refinery Rules, But Does Not Block Tar Sands
Measures that many hope would keep tar sands out of the Bay Area are still in limbo after Wednesday’s meeting of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. In that meeting, however, the air district board did approve three plans to reduce toxic emissions from specific processes within oil refineries.
Last month, the board decided to remove a scheduled vote on more comprehensive regulations of refinery emissions from its December 16 agenda, to give staff more time to meet with stakeholders. Controversy over the proposed rules has been ongoing since the rulemaking process started more than four years ago. When the board postponed the vote, it did not adopt a new timeline, but there was discussion of setting one in December. The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, however, included no mention of this item.
Despite that omission, members of community and environmental organizations flooded the meeting, filling the boardroom and all three available overflow rooms. About seventy people gave public comments urging the board to act quickly to cap refinery emissions at their current level. That would make it impossible to refine oil from Canadian tar sands, which generates much higher levels of pollution and greenhouse gases.