Monday, June 8, 2015

HR 2636 Introduced – Petroleum Coke

Last week Rep. Kelly (D,IL) introduced HR 2636, the Petroleum Coke Transparency and Public Health Protection Act. This bill would require a health and safety study of petroleum coke, a solid byproduct of the refining of heavy crude oil, and the subsequent development of regulations. This bill is related to HR 2298 and S 1388 introduced (and died) in the 113th Congress.

In my earlier post on HR 2298 I had a fairly lengthy discussion about the issues surrounding petroleum coke. At that time this was mainly a Detroit, MI related issue, but the rise of petroleum coke piles on the Southside of Chicago have expanded the areas (and number of people) concerned about this issue. The EPA has taken some actions with regard to the dust issue in Chicago.

This version of the bill would require much the same type of study mentioned in the earlier bills and would require the results of the study to be posted on the HHS web site. Where this bill is different, however, it that it requires in §4 that the EPA would develop “rules concerning the storage and transportation of petroleum coke that ensure the protection of public and ecological health based upon the findings of the study”.

Moving Forward

Rep. Kelly is not on the Energy and Commerce Committee so it is unlikely that she has the pull to get that Committee to consider this bill. Since petroleum coke is a byproduct of heavy crude (read Canadian Tar Sands) refining there is likely to be serious Republican opposition to this bill based upon the appearance that it is an attack on the Keystone Pipeline.

Normally we might have seen this offered as an amendment to the LHHSE spending bill, but the inclusion of §4 would preclude that due to the House rules against legislating in a spending bill. Without that provision it might be successfully offered and passed.

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