Regulators Poised to Allow Refinery to Increase Emissions

Michigan environmental regulators are poised to allow the Marathon refinery in southwest Detroit to increase emissions of at least eight air pollutants.

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DETROIT (AP) — Michigan environmental regulators are poised to allow the Marathon refinery in southwest Detroit to increase emissions of at least eight air pollutants.

The state Department of Environmental Quality said it proposes to approve revised permits for refinery modernization and expansion that would increase emissions of oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, small particulate pollution and sulfuric acid mist.

The agency's analysis of Marathon's permit requests notes that the emissions increases all fall within allowable state and federal regulations.

The proposal would increase emissions of sulfur dioxide in an area that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated as being out of compliance with federal air pollution standards, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The permit requests involve installation of equipment by Marathon to produce lower sulfur gasoline that will meet new EPA standards.

"The project will enable the facility to produce fuels that comply with the EPA regulation by reducing sulfur dioxide emissions from gasoline," Marathon spokesman Jamal Kheiry said in an email to the Free Press.

Kheiry added that the refinery's emission levels "will continue to be well below those allowed under its existing permit." Changes at the facility triggered the DEQ's permit process.

Ray Holland, 60, who has lived in a nearby neighborhood his whole life, doesn't like the idea of the proposed changes.

"I think they should leave it like it is — or put more pollution controls on it," he said of the refinery.

The DEQ plans an informational session and public hearing Wednesday night at the River Rouge High School auditorium in nearby River Rouge. The agency plans to consider public comments prior to taking final actions on Marathon's permit applications.

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