"NEW YORK - Northern California regulators on Wednesday directed two of the state’s largest oil refineries to slash their fine particulate air pollution, which will require costly modifications at the plants.
The 19-3 vote by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District governing board means refineries in the area, including Chevron Corp’s Richmond plant and PBF Energy Inc’s Martinez refinery, will have to install wet gas scrubbers to reduce pollution spewed by their gasoline-making fluid catalytic cracking units (FCCU) within five years.
The new requirement is expected to cut PBF and Chevron’s particulate matter emissions from its cat crackers by about 70%, the air quality district estimates.
Refineries emit heavy amounts of pollution as crude oil is processed into fuel, and small particulate matter - consisting of solid or liquid airborne particles - is among the most harmful pollutants. Prolonged exposure is known to lead to respiratory, pulmonary and cognitive health problems."