- Despite the Bush Administration's implications that refinery capacity is
dwindling, reports by the Energy Information Administration show that
overall refining capacity in the US has increased since 1990 and that
production capacity (actual product coming out of refineries) is at a fifty
year high in 2001.
- While no refineries have been built since 1976, existing refineries have
invested in and expanded their plants in part to handle the dirtier crude
oil now coming in from around the world.
- Most of these modifications appear to violate federal law as the
refineries making them never applied for New Source Review permits. The
permits ensure that the plants will comply with modern pollution control
monitoring and controls - and New Source Review is needed because
modifications generally cause an increase in emissions.
- The Bush Administration has repeatedly mentioned the possibility of
weakening New Source Review permitting process in order to help boost energy
production capacity (at power plants and refineries).
- According to the EPA, more than half of US refineries are currently in
significant non-compliance with federal laws.
- A case study of the ExxonMobil Baytown Refinery provides specific examples
of problems that are encountered due to lax enforcement at refineries.
Repeated violations and failure to enforce the law are part of the legacy
from George W. Bush's approach to environmental policy in Texas.