Big Oil Must Stop Poisoning Communities

  • by: Sierra Club
  • target: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
There are nearly 150 oil refineries nationwide, and each year they pollute the air in communities with a toxic soup of carcinogens, neurotoxins, and hazardous metals, including benzene, hydrogen cyanide, hydrofluoric acid, arsenic, and lead.

For these communities, this toxic air pollution means increased risk of cancer, respiratory problems, hospitalizations, and premature death. That's why the EPA has proposed stronger clean air standards to control pollution from refineries.

Act now to ensure the EPA protects communities from toxic refinery pollution. Big Oil will fight back hard, so your voice is critical for protecting our health.
Dear EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy,

I am writing in support of the EPA's efforts to strengthen limits on toxic emissions from refineries and improve monitoring requirements to protect public health. The EPA must reduce emissions of toxic chemicals from refineries based on the best scientific understanding of the harm this hazardous pollution can cause, especially for children and the elderly.

I urge you to ensure health-protective limits on refineries' toxic air pollution, including requirements to prevent uncontrolled leaks, flaring, and explosions. The final rule should also close all unlawful loopholes that allow refineries to pollute during startups, shutdowns or malfunctions. Additionally, the rule must implement a system of fenceline monitoring that provides continuous, real-time measurements of toxic pollution to enhance our right to know about toxic air releases, and to assure compliance with emission limits.

I also urge you to put your stated commitment to environmental justice into action. There are 149 refineries operating in 32 states that are exposing millions of Americans to toxic air emissions every day. The most-affected communities are disproportionately low-income, and African Americans and Latinos face an increased threat of cancer and other health hazards due to the pollution emitted by refineries.

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Lastly, if U.S. refineries receive greater quantities of dirtier, lower-quality crude oil such as tar sands, the EPA must not allow air emissions, upsets and accident threats to increase. It is critical that this rule provides the maximum achievable health and safety protections both for local communities and workers.

[Your name]
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