While the EPA has considered industry recommendations regarding oil refinery flares, new regulations may be "tremendously costly," a trade group said.
The Environmental Protection Agency set final regulations for flaring and process heaters at oil refineries. The EPA said it wouldn't only encourage the recovery of flared natural gas but would reduce the amount of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds from reaching the atmosphere.
"This final rule, which responds to petitions requesting the agency to reconsider standards issued in 2008, provides industry with greater compliance flexibility than those earlier standards did and ensures that companies can make routine operational changes without triggering new requirements," the EPA said in a statement.
Howard Feldman, director of regulatory affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, said that while the EPA's consideration of the oil and natural gas sector was welcome, it would be too costly to retrofit refineries in order to comply.
"EPA's rules will be tremendously costly without providing any significant environmental benefit," he said in a statement. "Refineries have spent billions of dollars to improve environmental performance and air quality continues to improve under existing regulations."