Flint Hill Resources Exchanges 'Flexibility' for Federal CAA Permits
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that a process has been developed, through work with Flint Hills Resources (FHR), a refining and chemical company based in Wichita, Kan., and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), to transition FHR’s four Texas Subchapter G flexible air permits to State Implementation Plan-approved (SIP-approved) permits consistent with the Clean Air Act.
EPA has been working with TCEQ, industry, community and environmental organizations to address changes to the air permitting program. In September, EPA and TCEQ released a draft four-step transition process at a meeting in Austin. While those discussions are continuing, FHR proceeded to tailor the draft transition process to its facilities with flexible permits.
“The process we have agreed to with Flint Hills Resources is an excellent one, and we look forward to working with the company to complete the work to transition their permits,” stated Al Armendariz, regional administrator for EPA Region 6. “It is our hope that the FHR process will serve as a model for other companies seeking to transition to federally approved permits.”
The applications for SIP-approved permits will be implemented by TCEQ, which remains the primary air permitting authority in the state, reviewed by EPA, and available to the public for review and comment. The company will begin the transition process by submitting a permit application to the state within 30 days, followed by the preparation of a historical permit analysis and a permit amendment over the next 12-month period.
"Over the past several months, Flint Hills Resources has worked proactively with EPA and TCEQ," said Brad Razook, president and chief executive officer for Flint Hills Resources. "We appreciate the agencies' cooperation and hard work in developing a process for Flint Hills to move forward with transitioning our permits in the state.”
This effort began when EPA objected to a proposed minor revision of the Title V permit for FHR’s East Refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. EPA objected to:
- the incorporation of a flexible permit into the Title V permit,
- the incorporation by reference of underlying permits into the Title V permit,
- inadequate length of time that records were maintained under the general record keeping provision, and
- the identification of stationary vents in the Title V permit.
The transition process and other changes to the FHR East Refinery permit resolve the EPA objections, clear the way for TCEQ to act on the company's permit applications, bring regulatory certainty to the company and will provide the public the clarity they are entitled to in the permits being held by major FHR facilities in Corpus Christi, Port Arthur, and Longview.
According to the company's website, Flint Hills Resources, and its predecessor companies, have been in Corpus Christi since 1981. The complex at that location has a crude oil processing capacity of about 300,000 barrels per day. A pipeline system sends refined jet fuel, low-sulfur gasoline and diesel north to terminals in San Antonio, Bastrop, Austin, Waco and the Fort Worth, including the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
The company’s chemicals business includes production facilities in Illinois, Michigan and Texas. The plants produce aromatics, olefins, polymers and intermediates chemicals. Flint Hills Resources’ primary aromatics chemicals production facility is located within the Corpus Christi refinery. Its interests in Longview include ownership of a polymers production unit within a local chemical facility. In Port Arthur, the company produces ethylene and propylene, which are sold into the merchant market.