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Dec. 15 public hearing focuses on BP permit decisions

Nov. 14, 2016

BELLINGHAM – BP’s Cherry Point Refinery is seeking local and state permits to upgrade two coker unit heaters and install new equipment and pipes at its Blaine-area complex.

Coker heaters break down heavy petroleum molecules (like asphalt pitch or roofing tar) into lighter molecules, which are later separated into different products, including motor fuels.

BP is seeking air permits to do the work from the Northwest Clean Air Agency and the Washington Department of Ecology to address the project’s potential impacts on air quality.

The public can comment on the proposed permits through Dec. 16 at the addresses listed below. Ecology and Northwest Clean Air will hold a public hearing on the permit decisions on Dec. 15 at Four Points by Sheraton, 714 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham. A public meeting will start at 6 p.m., followed by the joint public hearing at 6:30 p.m.

BP proposes to:

  • Replace its two existing coker heaters with new, larger heaters.
  • Install a system to separate propane and butane generated in the coker so they can be sold as product.
  • Install new piping at the existing crude unit heat exchangers to reduce process slowdowns.
  • Install pumps, valves, and other equipment to support these changes.

Copies of the proposed Northwest Clean Air permit, its technical support document, and the project application are available at:

Copies of Ecology’s proposed Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit, the technical support document, and the project application are available at:

Permit decisions can be appealed to the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 calendar days following each agency’s final determination.