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Updates to standards for oil and gas industry issued by EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released updates to the Clean Air Act Standards for Flares and Process Heaters, based on input from stakeholders.

The new flares and process heaters used at oil refineries will help maintain public health benefits, and reduce operating costs. The final rule addresses concerns from stakeholders, who asked the agency to revisit its final standards established in 2008. The rule gives the industry more compliance flexibility than previously established standards, and also ensures companies make routine changes without causing the need for new requirements.

The standards will lower emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds, which have shown to cause respiratory illnesses, heart attacks, and premature deaths. The new rules will also help the industry save as much as $80 million every year, and provide up to $610 million in yearly health benefits.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed its Petroleum Refinery National Emphasis Program (NEP) to reduce or eliminate workplace hazards that are linked to the catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals at petroleum refineries. Protect workers from these hazards by providing appropriate safety products, such as fire resistant clothing, hard hats, hearing protection, respiratory protection, and safety glasses

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