REACT and KRC Comment On Request To Relax Air Toxics Standard

« Latest News

REACT and KRC Comment On Request To Relax Air Toxics Standard  


Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Board of the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District, I am Eboni Neal Cochran, and am here providing a joint statement from REACT and the Kentucky Resources Council, Inc. in opposition to the request for modification by American Synthetic Rubber Corporation, of certain standards of the STAR program.

The Council was actively involved in the development of the STAR program. REACT was instrumental in garnering overwhelming community support for the program. STAR is a program that has been recognized nationally as a model for addressing and reducing the risks to workers and the public associated with the emissions of toxic chemicals into the ambient air from industrial sources.

It has been twelve years since the Air Pollution Control Board adopted the STAR program, requiring manufacturers such as ASRC to demonstrate the environmental acceptability of their air emissions and to submit a compliance plan to achieve target risk limits for individual and all air toxic emissions, or to seek a modification of such goals after installing the best available technology for toxics, or ?T-BAT.”

T-BAT is defined as an emission standard reflecting the maximum reduction in emissions of and risks from toxics, and may include work practices, air pollution control equipment, equipment maintenance measures, and alternative processes and process designs.

It has been almost a decade since ASRC submitted and received approval of modified standards for emissions of 1,3 butadiene from the flare and from fugitive sources. It should be noted that while the STAR program has set risk-based goals translating into numerical emissions standards based on calculated risks of exposure, there is no level at which exposure to workers or the public from a carcinogen such as 1,3-butadiene is therapeutic or beneficial, and no linear threshold below which such exposure to carcinogens is without health risk.

The request for modification that the staff proposes to approve comes in the wake of 2015 enforcement action taken after the District determined that emissions of 1,3-butadiene exceeded the already relaxed “modified” EA goals for emissions from fugitive sources approved in 2008. The final resolution of that enforcement action has not yet been presented to the public or the Board, and we are entitled to know why it is that the proposed technology and other actions approved in 2008 failed to produce reductions and emissions levels below the relaxed individual EA goals approved at that time.

The STAR program was not intended as a validation of the use of the public’s air for toxic waste disposal from industrial facilities. It was intended to drive down emissions in a continuous manner, as technology and process modifications progressed, with a goal of elimination rather than merely management of such risks. It certainly was not intended to reward noncompliance with further relaxation of EA goals or by allowing increased emissions and elevated risks to workers or the public.

Yet ASRC proposes and staff recommends approving increased emissions of 1,3-butadiene from fugitive sources, and a modification of EA goals for both the general public (called non-industrial receptors) and workers (called industrial receptors).

REACT and the Council believe that any further modifications or extension of modified EA goals should be rejected. REACT and the Council also request that the following actions be taken:

  1. Resolution of the pending enforcement action, including as part of an Agreed Order, an independent assessment commissioned by staff and paid for by ASRC, as to whether the existing T-BAT for both all emission sources remains the best technology or whether there are additional enhancements in process and emissions control equipment that could reduce or eliminate the need for continued or expanded modifications;
  2. Public review of that assessment and of a proposed final order in the pending enforcement action; and
  3. Production by ASRC of an assessment of the health effects of exposure to 1,3-butadiene to workers and the public for any emissions proposed in excess of individual EA goals. It should be remembered that a modification can only be approved if it meets two standards in the STAR regulations – first, that T-BAT is or will be met, and second, that the resulting emission standard would provide an ample margin of safety to the exposed population. Meeting T-BAT alone does not allow imposition of unsafe levels of emissions to the public or workers, and that assessment must be specific to the chemical or chemicals involved, and be based on the best available toxicological information.

Thank you for your consideration of these comments. We will comment further once the ASRC revises its application as it indicated it will in a recent press release.

Supporting KRC 
Thank you for your interest in Kentucky's environmental and public health. Individual contributions from donors across the Commonwealth make it possible for KRC to do its work every day, including advancing environmental, energy, and public health policies in Kentucky.
If you're interested in making an investment in KRC, visit

By Kentucky Resources Council on 04/20/2017 5:32 PM
« Latest News