"Refinery Pollution Affects ME!"

This commentary originally appeared in Air Alliance Houston's newsletter.

Isn't it time you said that to the EPA?

By: Adrian Shelley, Executive Director, Air Alliance Houston

There are 149 oil refineries in the United States. Of those, 5 are located in Houston, with an additional 3 in both Port Arthur and Texas City. The refining industry is more than 100 years old, and some people might be surprised to learn that there is equipment operating in some of our refineries that is a century old as well. As you can imagine, a lot has changed in that century.

Regulations governing the refining industry have not kept up. You've probably heard by now about the Environmental Protection Agency's new Refinery Air Toxics Rule. You may even have seen announcements lately about a hearing on the rule to be held in Houston on August 5. The hearing is a unique opportunity to influence a landmark rule in the fight against refinery pollution.

Air Alliance Houston has been promoting the hearing since it was announced. Today, I'd like to take a few minutes to explain why YOU should attend the hearing.

You don't have to be an expert on refineries. Few people are. Public hearings offer a unique opportunity for regulators to put human faces to the issues. This is your chance to look a representative from EPA in the eye and tell them why limiting pollution and protecting public health is important to you.

Why you? Consider this: you live in a city with five oil refineries; you breathe in more pollution than the average person; you are more likely to have asthma than the general population. You may not see oil refineries every day, but they are impacting your city and your health continuously.

So don't be shy. Speak up. The Houston hearing is one of only two public hearings in the nation. EPA picked Houston for a reason: they want to hear from YOU.

EPA Refinery Rule Hearing

August 5, 2014  Alvin D. Baggett Recreation Building  1302 Keene Street  Galena Park, TX 77547  You may register to speak the day of the hearing or pre-register with Virginia Hunt by August 1, 2014.

The hearings will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 8:00 p.m. (local time), with a lunch break from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. and a dinner break from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

If you are interested in speaking at either of the hearings, we encourage you to pre-register with Virginia Hunt at hunt.virginia@epa.gov or call her at 919-541-0382.

***FREE REGISTRATION***

Register (here)!

**Limited Scholarships may be available**
For more information contact:
Agatha Benjamin at (214) 665-7292
or Benjamin.agatha@epa.gov

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