Lawsuit claims EPA failed to prevent potential increase of pollution from Alon Oil Refinery

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A lawsuit filed Wednesday accuses the Environmental Protection Agency of failing to protect the Central Valley from possible air pollution from Alon Oil Refinery in Bakersfield. The lawsuit claims the EPA didn't respond to a request to reconsider a 2014 permit approval by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to increase Alon's capacity to import crude oil from 40 tank cars per day to 208. 
     
Center for Biological Diversity attorney, Maya Golden-Krasner, said the district underestimated how much pollution the increase would cause. Golden-Krasner said, "It's a very lenient permit. It doesn't require the latest pollution technologies and it really allows the facility to rely on pollution and emission reductions that have happened at a facility four decades ago. So it's been out of the air for four decades and this permit would allow them to start polluting again."
 
In December 2014, the Association of Irritated Residents, Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club filed a petition with the EPA requesting the agency to stop the permit. The groups claim the EPA didn't respond to the petition within the 60 days required under the Clean Air Act. 
     
They joined with the Climate Change Law Foundation in filing a lawsuit, requesting a response within a few months from EPA. 
 
Golden-Krasner said, "We're really hopeful that EPA will review the lawsuit, will review the petition and get back to us much faster and make a decision so we can move forward."
 
EPA spokesperson, Margot Perez-Sullivan, emailed us a statement that said, "The agency is aware of the lawsuit. the EPA does not comment on pending litigation."
 
Alon representatives say they haven't had the opportunity to review the lawsuit yet. 

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