MAKE A DIFFERENCE:

GOOD NEWs!

LD 163 PASSED IN THE ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE WITH A VOTE OF 9 TO 2

BUT THE WORK IS NOT DONE YET:

 

There is a hearing before the Board of Environmental Protection, BEP, on February, 3 at 9:00. This hearing will take up the RULEMAKING which is critical to make certain that the new requirements of LD163 are adequately clarified to be enforced effectively. When the rules pass the BEP, they will go to the  Environment and Natural Resources Committee, ENR, for approval.  We will be exerting pressure at both these steps to ensure the installation of the strictest rules possible for the state of Maine”s oil storage tanks.

Now that LD163 has passed, the next step is equally important. 

THAT STEP is RULEMAKING

 

Once a bill is passed into law, Rulemaking determines the wording and substance of the rules to enforce that law.  It is crucial that strict and comprehensive rules and regulations be carefully worded in order to get the most comprehensive data from the mandated testing and monitoring.  Timing and careful procedures are also important to protecting our community’s health.

The rules, Chapters 170 and 171, for LD163 have been drafted and are going to be reviewed by the Board of Environmental Protection, BEP in a hearing on February 3 at 9:00.  Unfortunately, no testimony is being accepted virtually, but we all have the opportunity to attend in person or SUBMIT WRITTEN TESTIMONY.  The Rules will be further reviewed in the Environment and Natural Resources Committee sometime in the near future.

 

To observe but not participate in the meeting:

You can watch the hearing via Zoom: https://mainestate.zoom.us/j/84412054919.

To submit written testimony, you can email it to:

erle.townsend@maine.gov

Subject: Comments on Ch. 170/Ch. 171

And start: Attention Board of Environmental Protection:

 

Written testimony will be accepted until February 18.

 

YOUR INPUT TO THE BOARD IS VERY HELPFUL.  We encourage you to stress the importance of strict and comprehensive rules and regulations to get the most information from the mandated testing and monitoring.  The more data we have in quarterly reporting the more we are able to protect our community.  We want to assert that timing and best practice procedures are also very important.

 

To update you on the changes we are requesting to be included in Chapters 107 and 171:

 

Petroleum distillates and residual oils should to be added to the list of potential pollutants to be controlled when removing organic vapors for degassing.

 

In addition to Benzene three other toxic hazardous air pollutants (HAP’s) should be monitored for a nominal additional cost.  It is important that we know the amounts of toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes along with benzene which form the components of BTEX, all of which may be considered carcinogens. 

 

To determine the source of emissions, the wind direction as well as temperature and atmospheric pressures should be documented at the time of the testing.

 

The proposed time frames for implementing fence line testing are excessive and should be shortened.  The time frame allowed for implementing fenceline monitoring should be reduced from 18 months to 9 months.

 

We need transparency.  All data and analysis must be reported quarterly to the DEP, the affected municipalities, and the public.

 

THANK YOU FOR ASSISTING IN THIS IMPORTANT NEXT STEP.

 

A HUGE SUCCESS IN A TWO-YEAR EFFORT TO FIND OUT THE NUMBER OF HAZARDOUS TOXINS BEING EMITTED FROM THE OIL STORAGE TANKS IN SOUTH PORTLAND AND ACROSS MAINE. WE ARE THRILLED - LD163 WAS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR MILLS ON JUNE 22 and will become law 90 days after this legislative session comes to an end.

 

Senator Anne Carney’s bill LD163 with amendments includes fence line monitoring around the perimeter of the above-ground oil tanks and testing twice a year on heated tanks while they are in service.  This is a big step forward for South Portland, Portland and statewide  These tanks have never been monitored for actual emissions of toxic chemicals.  Instead, a formula established by the American Petroleum Institute has been used to calculate emissions from what gets put into the tanks.  This formula, AP-42, has been acknowledged to be widely unreliable. 

 

We thank Senator Carney and Representatives Morales and Millett for their tireless work in helping PSP and the Tank Emissions Coalition to successfully pass this bill.

 

LD163 with amendment:

LD163 will:

1.  Require oil tank storage facilities to do actual testing of tank emissions twice a year on heated tanks.

2.  Require fenceline monitoring on the perimeter of tank farm facilities to measure the hazardous air pollutant emissions that are going beyond the facility into the surrounding community.

 

Why It's Important:

 

  • Two of the tank farm companies were found by the EPA to be in violation of their permits by over two times the permitted amounts of emissions for many years.

  • None of the tank farm facilities are currently required to do actual testing.

  • The oil companies self-report their emissions using a formula created by the American Petroleum Institute which has been found to be widely unreliable compared to actual emissions

  • In South Portland alone, six tank farm facilities combined, are permitted to emit almost 600 tons per year of volatile organic compounds (which turn into ozone) and 104 tons of hazardous air pollutants per year into the air into densely populated neighborhoods with homes, schools, and daycares nearby.

  • The chemicals in the emissions are known to cause cancer, respiratory illnesses (asthma), neurological problems for fetuses, and developing children.

RECENT MEDIA COVERAGE

 


https://insideclimatenews.org/news/18042021/toxic-neighbords-tank-fumes-epa-harmful-chemicals/

 

http://portlandphoenix.me/battle-over-south-portland-tank-emissions-moves-to-augusta/
 

https://www.pressherald.com/2021/05/24/bill-inspired-by-south-portland-fuel-tank-emissions-earns-committee-endorsement/

 

https://www.pressherald.com/?p=6048273

APRIL 23  - We held a successful rally to inform and activate the public about the toxic fumes being emitted into our air near schools
 

If you were unable to be there you can watch a video of the event. 
https://youtu.be/N-hm8dt29FE

MORE GOOD NEWS!

 

After a battle of 8 years, the Portland Pipeline has withdrawn its last appeal to nullify the Clear Skies Ordinance which our city passed to prevent the reversal of an 80-year-old pipeline from bringing Alberta tar sands to So. Portland to be loaded onto tankers to be exported. To read the background of this issue go to campaigns and click on Clear Skies.