WOODS CROSS -- HollyFrontier's Woods Cross Refinery announced plans Tuesday to add pollution control equipment that could reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 90 percent.
The new pollution control equipment is part of an estimated $250 million expansion that will reduce refinery emissions, HollyFrontier officials said.
The move comes in a show of support for Gov. Gary R. Herbert's U-CAIR initiative to improve the state's air quality. The new equipment will reduce sulfur dioxide emission by about 150 tons per year, according to company officials.
Herbert said he applauds HollyFrontier for its support of the initiative.
"Only by working together can we improve our air quality," Herbert said in a prepared statement. "Whether it's industry like HollyFrontier making changes to how they operate, or an individual choosing to limit idling in their car, every change we make results in cleaner air."
The pollution control upgrade by HollyFrontier is not required under its current air-quality permit, said Division of Air Quality Director Bryce Bird.
The refinery staff is to be credited for coming up with the innovative control technique, which will redirect effluent from the sulfur recovery unit to a wet gas scrubber in another unit, Woods Cross Refinery Manager Lynn Keddington said.
"We wanted to do our part and show our commitment to improving our air quality, so we challenged our employees and consultants to look at how we could go above and beyond what was required for our expansion project to help reduce emission and support U-CAIR," he said.
"We understand it's a privilege to conduct business in this community," Keddington said. "That's why we are working hard to be proactive and be a good corporate citizen."
It is commendable when a source that emits air pollution voluntarily reduces its emission levels, said Karen Hevel-Mingo, executive director for Breathe Utah.
"Any time we get any type of reduction in pollution, that is a good thing," Hevel-Mingo said.
Still, there is a need to reduce the demand for vehicle travel by making smart trips, which in turn would reduce the need for refineries having to expand, she said.
Breathe Utah is a nonprofit organization whose aim is to improve Utah's air quality.
The HollyFrontier refinery, built in 1932, currently processes 650,000 gallons of gasoline per day and 365,000 gallons of diesel fuel. About 60 percent of what it produces is sold in Utah, officials said.