SEED Coalition,
Sustainable Energy and Economic Development

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Bush Administration Ignores Facts, Reality on Refineries


  • 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.

View Supporting Documents:

Read the press releases:

Refining Production Capacity, 1981 - 2001:

Refining Capacity, 1949 - 1999:

Read about refinery expansions in the Energy Information Administration's Petroleum and Marketing Report:

Get more information on refining operations:


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