Lawsuit filed against West Bountiful refinery expansion

Posted at 9:32 PM, Apr 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-27 23:32:25-04

WEST BOUNTIFUL, Utah -- From 31,000 barrels of oil to 60,000, the Holly Refinery in West Bountiful has a plan to expand, but it's not without challenge.

"Well I get woken up to the flames about 7 to 10 feet high in the air," said Angee Crosby, who lives about a quarter mile northwest of the refinery.  "You get that smell frequently."

The impacts felt far further than Crosby's house are now being challenged in court.

"We already have an impaired air shed.  Why would we allow major sources like this to increase?" said Tim Wagner, Executive Director of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment.

Wagner’s part of a group that filed an appeal to stop the refinery’s expansion.

"We need to find every reduction in air pollution that we possibly can because already the models show we won't attain the standard," said Joro Walker a Senior Attorney at Western Resource Advocates.

"The lawsuit was anticipated based on the recent approval given by DEQ," said Eric Benson, an environmental specialist at the refinery.

Benson is getting ready to defend his company's plan to expand for a second time.

"What they require us to do is do calculated emissions, based on our potential to emit," Benson said.

Those calculated emissions are exactly what environmental groups are challenging.  Arguing that the Utah Department of Air Quality approved a flawed estimate.

It's a debate not likely to end soon.

"The courts may throw it out.  If they do, then we'll probably appeal to a higher court," Wagner said.