EPA TURNS TO REFINERIES: The Environmental Protection Agency released tough new rules cutting down on air pollution from petroleum refineries on Tuesday. 

The agency said its new rule, which will be implemented in 2018, will reduce toxic air pollutants by 5,200 tons and cut 50,000 tons of volatile organic compounds from the air annually. 

Officials are also requiring refiners to track the concentration of benzene, a toxic chemical, and warn the public about their levels. 

{mosads}The EPA pitched the new rules as a boon for public health. 

“These updated Clean Air Act standards will lower the cancer risk from petroleum refineries for more than 1.4 million people and are a substantial step forward in EPA’s work to protect the health of vulnerable communities located near these facilities,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in the statement. 

Oil groups said the agency incorporated some of its early comments on the rule into the final version, but still warned that the final rule will be expensive to implement.

“Despite these improvements, regulators need to be thoughtful about the additional impacts of new regulations and added costs to delivering affordable energy to U.S. consumers,” API Downstream Group Director Bob Greco said in a statement.  

Read more here

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will meet to mark up its comprehensive energy reform bill.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: Jo Ellen Darcy, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, will testify on the Army Corps of Engineers’ role in the crafting of a new Obama administration water regulation before a Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee.

Rest of Wednesday’s agenda … 

Four governors — Steve Bullock (D-Mont.), Dennis Daugaard (R-S.D.), Gary Herbert (R-Utah) and Matt Mead (R-Wyo) — will testify before the House Natural Resources Committee on energy development in their states. 

NEWS BITE: Peter Lehner is leaving the Natural Resources Defense Council for Earthjustice. 

Lehner has been the NRDC’s executive director since 2006, but he will soon head a “sustainable food and agriculture program” at Earthjustice, the group said Tuesday.

“We are delighted to be welcoming back to Earthjustice a lawyer of Peter’s extraordinary ability and creativity. He will be a great fit with the excellent Earthjustice team,” the group’s president, Trip Van Noppen, said in a statement announcing the move.  

“His experience in government, public interest, and the private sector, combined with the reach of Earthjustice and its partners, will significantly increase our impact.”

Leher worked on the NRDC’s policy positions and advocacy and communications campaigns, according to the group, as well as leading the group’s Action Fund political activities. 

Of his new job Lehner said in a statement, “Agriculture affects our environment and climate, and food affects our health, more than almost any other activity. I am delighted to be rejoining Earthjustice to take advantage of the opportunities to work with allies among farmers, communities, and others to make our food and food production cleaner and safer.”


Chesapeake Energy will cut about 15 percent of its workforce, the company announced Tuesday, Reuters reports.

The governor of the Bank of England is warning that climate change could lead to a global financial crisis, BBC News reports.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has joined the divestment movement and is pushing the city’s pension funds to end their coal fuel investments, Newsweek reports


Check out Tuesday’s stories… 

-House Committee wants more info from Volkswagen, EPA 
-Bush energy plan would boost exports, approve Keystone 
-EPA cracks down on oil refinery pollution 
-Senate Dem to EPA: Protect ‘God’s planet’ 
-EPA expects success from new methane rules 
-Powering the Economy: A Discussion on Natural Gas, Methane Policy & American Business 

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com; and Devin Henry, dhenry@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama@dhenry@thehill  


Tags Environmental Protection Agency Gina McCarthy oil oil refineries

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