Shell/Motiva’s EDF rating not so goodLEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / October 13, 1999Of the three states with the greatest number of petroleum refineries – Louisiana, California and Texas – Louisiana refineries performed at mid- grade, worse than California but better than Texas.

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 13, 1999

A state-by-state ranking on the pollution performance by the Environmental Defense Fund shows that among states with four or more refineries, Texas, Oklahoma, Montana and Wyoming put out the most pollution per barrel processed.

The only Louisiana refinery in the worst 20 percent of the 144 rankable refineries was the Shell/Motiva plant in Norco. Those in the best 15percent overall included Marathon Ashland in Garyville and Shell Chemical, formerly St. Rose Refining, in St. Rose.Shell spokesperson Lily Galland responded, “Although the EDF’s attempt to normalize the data is admirable, it does not accurately account for the complexity of a facility.”Galland continued: “An example of the difference is Shell Chemical’s St.

Rose facility, which is one of the best-performing refineries, and Motiva’s Norco refinery, which is one of the worst. The St. Rose refinery is onlypreparing heavy olefins feed. This feed is low in sulfur and has very littlebenzene in it. There are no additional refining steps.”On the other hand, Galland continued: “The Motiva refinery is a very complex gasoline conversion refinery. In addition to a distillation step,there is catalytic cracking, reforming, alkylation, hydroprocessing and coking. In 1997, the olefin plant emissions were included in the refineryemissions. The refinery and olefin plant emissions were separated in1998. With this change, the Motiva refinery will be a middle-of-the-packperformer, based on the EDF’s analysis method.”To create the rankings, according to a press release from the EDF, publicly-reported data from the plants themselves were used to determine the pollution-per-barrel information.

The EDF also hosts an internet website,, toinform the public better on environmental matters.

“With just a few mouse-clicks on EDF’s new website, the public can learn how nearby refineries rank in terms of preventing pollution,” Lois Epstein, EDF senior engineer, said.

Toxic release and transfer data were obtained from the EPA’s 1997 Toxics Release Inventory, and 1996-98 sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compound release data from EPA’s “AIRS” database, obtained in July 1999.

Galland commented that the use of TRI transfers “does not represent emissions to the environment. Many of the materials listed in this sectiongo to other locations for energy recovery or further treatment prior to disposal.”

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