SALT LAKE CITY -- The head of a state group pressing for clean air claims it may take Holly Refinery to court over current plans to expand the Woods Cross-based refinery.
Dr. Brian Moench, head of the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, told the Standard-Examiner his group will sue Holly if the state's Department of Air Quality grants the refinery a permit to expand its local operation.
The group has already initiated legal action against Tesoro, based in north Salt Lake County, for a permit to expand that operation.
"The state has been unwilling to hold the refiners to the strictest standard possible," Moench said.
Holly announced plans to invest $225 million over the next three years at the Davis County operation to increase its production by 45 percent, raising capacity to 45,000 barrels per day from its current level of 31,000 bpd. The company is moving processing equipment from an idled refinery in New Mexico to Utah.
Lynn Keddington, plant manager for Holly, said the plant will be expanded in two phases. The first phase is due for completion by the end of 2014 and the second in 2016.
He estimates 75 jobs will be added in Phase 1, with a potential of raising county tax revenues by $2 million to a total of $6 million per year and potentially generating as much as $64 million for the state.
He said the average salary for the refinery's current workforce of 200 workers is $80,000 a year.
The DAQ'S public comment period for expansion plans has been extended to Jan. 28, from its original Jan. 18 deadline.
Cherise Udell, president of Utah Moms for Clean Air, described the DAQ as a toothless lion, because lawmakers have misplaced their emphasis in looking at growth and its impact on the environment.