LOS ANGELES (CN) – A California appeals court has temporarily put the brakes on a diesel-manufacturing project at the ConocoPhillips refinery in Wilmington, ruling that its nitrogen dioxide emissions might have a significant impact on the environment.
Communities for a Better Environment led the challenge to the project, which would allow ConocoPhillips to make ultra-low sulfur diesel. Plaintiffs claimed the South Coast Air Quality Management District rubber-stamped the project without requiring an adequate environmental review.
The court ruled that the management district abused its discretion in downplaying the environmental harm caused by nitrogen dioxide emissions, but upheld its conclusion that the project, overall, would not have a “significant adverse environmental impact.”
ConocoPhillips is the largest petroleum refiner in the United States. Its Los Angeles refinery operates at two different sites in the South Coast Air Basin: Wilmington and Carson. The Wilmington plant sits on about 400 acres near commercial, recreational and residential areas and makes a variety of products, including gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, petroleum gases sulfuric acid and sulfur. See ruling.