U.S. EPA denies permit for Phillips, Trafigura’s Bluewater offshore terminal


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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has denied a permit for an offshore oil terminal jointly developed by refiner Phillips 66 and global commodities trader Trafigura after several environmental groups flagged pollution risks.

The Bluewater Texas Terminal, which is located on the Gulf Coast near Corpus Christi, had applied for a Clean Air Act permit in 2019, following which EPA released a pollution control permit that allowed it to emit almost 19,000 tons of pollutants per year.

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This has invited calls from environmental groups, which urged the agency to amend the permit to include reduction of Bluewater’s pollutants by at least 95%.

The EPA rejected the permit on Thursday.

“The application of this rule will reduce the amount of pollution the Bluewater terminal will emit by a whopping 18,000 tons each year,” said Gabriel Clark-Leach, an attorney from the Environmental Integrity Project, one of the groups that objected the permit.

In a letter sent to the EPA, the groups argued that pollution from the terminal’s offshore infrastructure pose risks to minority and lower-income communities.

The company has been directed to withdraw its permit no later than Sept. 15 and submit a new proposal that would meet the requirements.

Phillips 66 and Trafigura did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

The terminal could export up to 384 million barrels of crude oil per year on large tanker ships. (Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)



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