Activists fight to stop Holly Oil Refinery expansion

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The State gave the green light to one of Utah's top industrial polluters to expand. Holly Oil Refinery now has permission to double its capacity but environmental groups plan to put a stop to it. Environmentalists say Holly's plan to expand is bad for the public's health. One group warns a lawsuit is coming.

"Holly shareholders stand to make billions of dollars literally and we'll be left in Utah with decades of more pollution," said Dr. Brian Moench, who is the President of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment.

Activists like Dr. Moench vow to stop the refinery's plans to expand.

"We're going to fight this vigorously, we're going to file for an injunction soon," Moench said.

Groups like Heal Utah call The Department of Environmental Quality's decision to grant Holly a permit to double its capacity, poor timing. "This is the wrong time to allow refineries to process more oil and add more pollution," said Heal Utah's Matt Pacenza.

On Fox 13's Live at 4, Heal Utah went face to face with the DEQ and the environmental manager for Holly.

"For this particular permit some pollutants are going up slightly but the majority of omissions are going down," said Bryce Bird with DEQ.

DEQ says while the refinery will be pumping out 60,000 barrels of crude a day under the expanded permit, Holly has plans in place to reduce emissions.

"First of all we're putting strict controls on the new equipment we're putting in," said Michael Astin, the Environmental Manager at Holly Refinery.

The DEQ says the permit is not a done deal; the public has a chance to oppose it. Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment says they plan to file an injunction in the next several days.

4 comments

  • Eric Anderson

    Refineries in more enlightened countries are clean and efficient, but thanks to burned out old hippies we’re still stuck in the 1950s.

    Thanks, liberals! I really enjoy smog.

    • dwdeclare

      and of course anyone with two eyes and a nose can tell how “clean and efficient” refineries are in our wonderfully “enlightened” country when they’re coming though SLC on the I-15.

      just inhale the glorious freshness of:
      sulphur dioxide
      carbon monoxide
      benzene
      naphthalene
      1,3-butadiene
      polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
      mercury
      hydrogen sulphide

      mmm, carcinogenicky!

  • RaAnn Clegg

    These reports were biased and very one sided. The black smoke is a loss of profit on a safety valve. The five refineries in theSLC area supplies only 11% to the pollution. The driving public supplies 47%.

    These refineries supply gas, fuel, and other things we use everyday. Even plastics. They also supply fuel for the Western ISA. These five employers supply jobs for thousands of Utah people as well. The employees are well trained and the equipment is constantly updated.

    The mis-informed public is being brainwashed by those who don’t know what the are talking about. The expansion of the Holly Refinery is for safer, cleaner and cheaper operations which is better for everyone in jobs, fuel and Utah’s economy. With more storage it also may help with lower fuel costs at the pump because there is more supply.

    FOX 13, PLEASE research your stories better and PLEASE quit your one-sided, biased reporting. When Ninava came on for this report you could tell immediately that she didn’t like refineries. The job of a reporter is to report, not swing public opinion by showing your own. A spokesman for the company gave a statement, but that was not even shown. Maybe you need to talk with the American Petroleum Agency.

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