In late 2020, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company appealed a July 2020 Environmental Protection Agency air quality rule that would regulate emissions from the crude oil storage tanks at the Valdez Marine Terminal.
Alyeska asserted that the new rule would not result in emissions reductions at the terminal, that local residents would not see air quality benefits, and that Alyeska was already controlling air pollution from the storage tanks using optimal methods.
Alyeska noted that the existing control system at the terminal captures 99.94% of all tank vapors, while the reduction goal for the updated rule is 95%.
The Council hired experts at John Beath Environmental to conduct an independent review of Alyeska’s appeal and their assertions, to determine if the Council should support Alyeska’s appeal or not.
The section of the standards being appealed establishes national emission limitations, operating limits, and work practices for major sources of hazardous air pollutants. Hazardous air pollutants can be harmful to human health and include carcinogenic compounds such as benzene, among nearly 200 other harmful compounds.
In addition to verifying Alyeska’s assertions, the review documented how the implementation of the new rule, as written by the EPA, would impact the amount of hazardous air pollutants coming from the terminal.
The Council’s independent review supports the key arguments in Alyeska’s appeal. The design of the existing vapor recovery system already controls vapors better than the alternatives required by the new rule. Imposing the entirety of the new rule at the terminal would not result in overall, local air quality benefits.
The Council will be supporting Alyeska in their appeal by sending a letter and the final report to the Environmental Protection Agency.