Appeal filed in decision over shipping ethanol out of Del. City refinery

Rail cars at the PBF unloading area at Delaware City.

The Delaware Audubon Society and League of Women Voters filed an appeal with the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board (CZICB) of the December 2016 Secretary’s Order and Coastal Zone Act Permit for the Delaware City Refinery’s ethanol shipments.

The decision allows the refinery to receive and ship 10,000 barrels per day of ethanol from its Delaware facility. Kenneth T. Kristl, and the Widener University School of Law’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic represent the Appellants in this matter.

Refinery owner PBF has claimed the shipments are grandfathered in by the Coastal Zone Act.

The popular legislation has remained virtually unchanged over the decades, with critics claiming that its intent has been violated by some new projects in the coastal zone, such as a crude rail delivery site near the refinery.

The act was designed to stop construction of a Shell refinery in a pristine area. Since its inception, few if any refineries have been built anywhere in the U.S and many industrial sites in Delaware’s coastal zone have closed.

The suit claims that DNREC Secretary David Small has made a decision contrary to the Coastal Zone Act by allowing a new bulk product transfer facility within the Coastal Zone at the Delaware City Refinery. Ethanol only came into use at the refinery in 2006, 35 years after other uses were grandfathered in, a release from the Audobon Society states.

“We carefully analyzed the facts and law surrounding the secretary’s decision on this permit and concluded that the transshipment of ethanol it allows clearly violates the Coastal Zone Act,” said Kenneth Kristl, director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Widener University of Delaware Law School, who will represent Delaware Audubon and the League of Women Voters of Delaware in this appeal. “We look forward to presenting our arguments to the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board at the public hearing on this appeal.”

The Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board appeal came after of DNREC issued a Notice of Violation on December 23 of a 2013 Secretary’s Order for a Marine Vapor Recovery Permit that limited the transfer of crude oil to Paulsboro.

A complaint to the Delaware Department of Justice, DNREC’s investigation into this violation is ongoing.

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