< Previous Page
If Holly is required to do the math the way EPA and the doctors’ group say, the refinery could be forced to buy credits for pollution reductions, since it says there are no more reductions to be made to the plant and operations, said Astin.
In his view, the environmental group isn’t aiming at reducing emissions. "What they oppose is the refinery."
EPA Letter by
The Utah Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the arguments about HollyFrontier’s expansion request. No one knows when it might decide the issue, but many agree a lawsuit is possible, if not likely, no matter what the conclusion.
On the other side, the doctor’s group says the law is intended to prompt pollution cuts and that the Salt Lake Valley air shed needs those cuts to bring the air into compliance with federal law and make it healthier for Utahns to breathe. Walker said, if forced to exclude those improvements ordered by the consent decree, Holly could be compelled to rein in pollution by as much as hundreds of tons and neighbors would breathe easier.
Brian Moench, president of the physicians group, noted that Gov. Gary Herbert’s administration has emphasized voluntary pollution-control programs and has told residents they must do their part to reduce emissions.
"You can’t really ask them to do that with any integrity," said Moench, "unless you are asking the same from heavy industry and the refineries."
Marty Gray, who reviewed Holly’s expansion application for the air-quality division, said the consent-decree-dispute is just one of the many comments that his office is considering before making a final decision.
"We had a significant amount of comments, and we’re looking at those also," he said.
His office has to be sure that whatever the permit looks like when it’s done, that it complies with the law. And it could be sued by anyone who doesn’t like the final result.
"We don’t take sides; we do whatever the law requires us to do," Gray said. "Once we decide the correct interpretation, that’s the path we go down."
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.