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thisisausername190 t1_j9oofwp wrote

Which fuel, you might ask?

> The Environmental Protection Agency recently gave a Chevron refinery the green light to create fuel from discarded plastics as part of a climate-friendly initiative to boost alternatives to petroleum. [emphasis mine]

And the cancer risk:

> According to agency records obtained by ProPublica and the Guardian, the production of one of the fuels could emit air pollution that is so toxic, one out of four people exposed to it over a lifetime could get cancer. [emphasis mine]

For more context:

> That risk is 250,000 times greater than the level usually considered acceptable by the EPA division that approves new chemicals.

> Aside from the chemical that carries a 25% lifetime risk of cancer from smoke-stack emissions, another of the Chevron fuels ushered in through the program is expected to cause 1.2 cancers in 10,000 people – also far higher than the agency allows for the general population.

> The EPA division that screens new chemicals typically limits cancer risk from a single air pollutant to one case of cancer in a million people. [emphasis mine)

> The one-in-four lifetime cancer risk from breathing the emissions from the Chevron jet fuel is higher even than the lifetime risk of lung cancer for current smokers.

I highly recommend reading the article, there’s a lot more there than I covered in this comment, including the people who are disproportionally affected.


Legitimate-Tea5561 t1_j9p6g8m wrote

>In an email Chevron spokes person Ross Allen wrote: “It is incorrect to say there is a one-in-four cancer risk from smoke-stack emissions. I urge you avoid suggesting otherwise.” Asked to clarify what exactly was wrong, Allen wrote that Chevron disagrees with ProPublica and the Guardian’s “characterization of language in the EPA consent order”. That document, signed by a Chevron manager at its refinery in Pascagoula, quantified the lifetime cancer risk from the inhalation of smoke-stack air as 2.5 cancers in 10 people, which can also be stated as one in four.

Urges us to avoid suggesting the truth.

>In a subsequent phone call, Allen said: “We do take care of our communities, our workers, and the environment. Generally, this is job one for Chevron.”

They take care of profiting off the communities, and spreading the cost of their pollution to every one else.


Portalrules123 t1_j9ruwig wrote

If that was their job one they literally wouldn’t be able to exist running as a massive conglomeration, because the economic system they are intrenched in is based purely on cold hard profit. So you already can tell this is a lie.


Underwood4EverHoC OP t1_j9oopk1 wrote

Plastics => fuel sounds very legit and safe as hell.

Thought an EPA official who obviously never smelled melting plastic or completed high school.


thisisausername190 t1_j9op6f7 wrote

Yeah, it’s pretty clear none of this makes any sense to anyone with common sense and a bit of knowledge on the subject. From the article:

> ProPublica and the Guardian asked Maria Doa, a scientist who worked at the EPA for 30 years, to review the document laying out the risk. Doa, who once ran the division that managed the risks posed by chemicals, was so alarmed by the cancer threat that she initially assumed it was a typographical error. “EPA should not allow these risks in Pascagoula or anywhere,” said Doa, who now is the senior director of chemical policy at Environmental Defense Fund. [emphasis mine]


Portalrules123 t1_j9rv3am wrote

The status quo is now actually being chosen over reality. It cannot be sustained, so lies and gaslighting are being used to make us think it can.


techleopard t1_j9ot18t wrote

I'm thinking more along the lines of "Thought an EPA official who just received a nice anonymous thank you gift and a promise of future employment."


Hydrochloric_Comment t1_j9ow54n wrote

Melting is not remotely the same as catalytic pyrolysis, lmao. But unfortunately, while plastic pyrolysis is theoretically a really great way to eliminate plastic waste, it’s not particularly helpful for emissions. Both in that the pyrolysis itself isn’t green, and that the emissions from using the fuel are typically not better than diesel.


Legitimate-Tea5561 t1_j9p4s54 wrote

Or how advanced nuclear waste technology is 'safe' because using the word advanced makes the waste seems acceptable.


Susastelle t1_j9p5cut wrote

"The one-in-four lifetime cancer risk from breathing the emissions from the Chevron jet fuel is higher even than the lifetime risk of lung cancer for current smokers.

... Throwe said the existing testing and monitoring requirements for refineries couldn’t capture the pollution from these new plastic-based fuels because the rules were written before these chemicals existed.

... In her three decades at the EPA, Doa had never seen a chemical with that high a cancer risk that the agency allowed to be released into a community without restrictions.

“The only requirement seems to be just to use the chemicals as fuel and have the workers wear gloves,” she said.

While companies have made fuels from discarded plastics before, this EPA program gives them the same administrative break that renewable fuels receive: a dedicated EPA team that combines the usual six regulatory assessments into a single report.

The irony is that Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard Program, which this initiative was meant to support, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost the production of renewable fuels. Truly renewable energy sources can be regenerated in a short period of time, such as plants or algae. While there is significant debate about whether ethanol, which is made from corn, and other plant-based renewable fuels are really better for the environment than fossil fuels, there is no question that plastics are not renewable and that their production and conversion into fuel releases climate-harming pollution.

... The idea of creating fuel from plastic offers the comforting sense that plastics are sustainable. But the release of cancer-causing pollution is just one of several significant problems that have plagued attempts to convert discarded plastic into new things. One recent study by scientists from the Department of Energy found that the economic and environmental costs of turning old plastic into new using a process called pyrolysis were 10 to 100 times higher than those of making new plastics from fossil fuels. The lead author said similar issues plague the use of this process to create fuels from plastics."


mudman13 t1_j9r94xj wrote

Wtaf they're like some batman villain.


UnwillingCouchFlower t1_j9qbr2k wrote

Everyone who is upset by this or feeling worried, if you are living in America, please take a moment to write your senators and representatives. If you would consider it, but need to find your representatives… Here a link where you can enter where you live and it will show your who represents you. (

Even if you copy parts of the comment above and emphasize that you are someone they represent and this is alarming for all people and it should not be allowed to happen because it’s not worth the risks, that is wonderful!


Chippopotanuse t1_j9t6mp3 wrote

This is really disturbing. Why the hell would the EPA let this pass scrutiny?


onthecoastmoreorless t1_j9oqz3j wrote

perhaps Chevron needs to update it's logo to skull and crossbones?


SacrificialPwn t1_j9p15n9 wrote

Let's see: make plastics from fossil fuels for profit--> make fuel from discarded plastics for profit--> profit!


BFroog t1_j9osu7z wrote

This is what happens when the GOP puts corporate friendly heads in all these agencies.


rolypolydactyl t1_j9po1if wrote

discarded plastics as alternative to petroleum? Just where tf are these plastics coming from if not petroleum? This is like saying we will only burn logs in an effort to stop burning trees.


HedonisticFrog t1_j9qy0wk wrote

If it didn't result in lots of cancer it would be beneficial. To use your analogy, those logs would go to the landfill if they weren't burned so it would be better to use them productively.


rolypolydactyl t1_j9rpuf4 wrote

Well of course, this is exactly how you're supposed to respond to this happy horse shit, well done. Or maybe, and this is where it gets complicated, maybe they should stop making fuxkimg logs!


HedonisticFrog t1_j9w3z1c wrote

We should definitely reduce plastic production when possible as well, but that doesn't change the fact that being able to reuse the plastics already made would be beneficial. It helps to be angry for the right reason if you enjoy raging, which is that they're downplaying the damage done to burning this plastic created fuel.


mymar101 t1_j9p8hec wrote

This is why regulations are needed. Corporations will kill us all for a quick buck


DeMalgamnated t1_j9pl32m wrote

these big corps just don't give a fuck do they?

they probably say "you could get cancer over your lifetime, COULD, so you'll be fine till your old almost dead, i call that a win"

smokes 5 cigars and calls banker for stock update.


millionreddit617 t1_j9qzj8w wrote

It’s their job to make money.

It’s the regulators who are supposed to be the ones ‘giving a fuck’.

They decide the rules, the corporations just follow them. Mostly.


KJBenson t1_j9t806f wrote

A job usually indicates a need for income to survive.

The people making these decisions don’t need a job. They could retire today and their great grandchildren could live off of the royalties.

This is straight up greed and a complete disregard for every other person place or thing.


millionreddit617 t1_j9t8az5 wrote

>the people making these decisions don’t need a job

Ok but the thousands of people that work for them do…


KJBenson t1_j9t8huz wrote

Do you think bad leaders destroying the earth are creating jobs?

And if you do, do you think those are the only jobs in the world?


jschubart t1_j9pktts wrote

Who the fuck thought burning plastic would be a good idea for a fuel source aside from the ones making money off it?


KJBenson t1_j9t830s wrote

Well, Anyone who voted for the politicians who allow these sorts of things to happen, for one.


Outrageous_Garlic306 t1_j9oxz12 wrote

What a bunch of conscienceless scumbags. They deserve to be boycotted into bankruptcy.


veringer t1_j9p54fc wrote

Cancer risks aside, is this fuel source actually energy-positive? Does it produce more energy than it requires to manufacture?


LogicThievery t1_j9p7s90 wrote

Boy do I hope not, if these petro-vultures smell any profit we'll see this poison go mainstream under a new age-y 'green' branding in like 5 years.


veringer t1_j9qbb45 wrote

Right. I brought up the question because I suspect many are only moved by economic arguments, rather than environmental or health-related ones.


Goddess_Peorth t1_j9sjqwy wrote

> is this fuel source actually energy-positive?

Plastics are a petroleum product to start with, so it isn't unreasonable to want to convert them to fuel for recycling.

The specious part is calling it "climate-friendly." A lot of the carbon is still sequestered when it is a plastic. Converting it to a fuel releases that carbon when it is burned. So even if it was energy-positive when looking just at the process itself, it is still going to be net worse for the environment than new petroleum production. All it offers is a way for an oil company to output more fuel and make a little more money.


veringer t1_j9u93so wrote

I get the problem with how it's being labelled and why it's (at best) a gradation between bad and worse. I also know that some significant fraction of people will only be swayed by economic arguments. So, if it's not energy-positive (or even just break-even), it's likely dead in the water.

All that said, if it did work, it might be interesting if we started converting plastic into energy that had to be used to scrub carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in a way that doesn't tend to produce microplastics. That would require improved tech and a functional regulatory system, but, let's dream for a while.


merpmerp t1_j9p3suv wrote

I just shared the same article, I hope it gets more attention!! This shit is insane! I'm rapidly losing faith in the EPA, like what the actual fuck 😡


Actual__Wizard t1_j9pgul6 wrote

If you think that the people at Chevron didn't know that, you are very badly mistaken.


justforthearticles20 t1_j9pmg6n wrote

Regulatory capture does not magically go away when Administrations change.


TheDoctorAtReddit t1_j9prqcw wrote

Human stupidity, coupled with a nice touch of greed, can indeed accomplish incredible stuff ⚡️


Frumpy_little_noodle t1_j9qsq7q wrote

I suppose if they use the logic that "fewer humans = better environment" they would have a solid argument.


BB4All t1_j9sc5u3 wrote

>But the agency won’t turn over these records or reveal information about the waste-based fuels, even their names and chemical structures.
>Without those basic details, it’s nearly impossible to determine which of the thousands of consent orders on the EPA website apply to this program.
>In keeping this information secret, the EPA cited a legal provision that allows companies to claim as confidential any information that would give their competitors an advantage in the marketplace.

Totally unacceptable as well as utterly despicable!

No provision should be permitted to serve as legal cover for corporate criminality or even taken seriously in it that allows info re: such highly dangerous toxins to be kept secret.

Enough of this decades upon decades upon decades of corporate greed taking precedence over public safety. Is there any way to sue both the EPA and the corporate criminals into doing the right thing and releasing this information?

No wonder we are so fucked as a nation - talk about corporate/regulatory capture of the U.S. gov't!


Thorn_and_Thimble t1_j9q1sx3 wrote

Detective Benoit Blanc needs to get to the bottom of this, stat.


teknomedic t1_j9t0s3z wrote

So... it's helping the environment by killing humans? Prefect!


[deleted] t1_j9oo7se wrote



mrlolloran t1_j9oqir1 wrote

Honestly I’ve never seen a title accused of being clickbait simultaneously being shown to not be clickbait because the same person making the accusation pulled a quote from the article that corroborated the headline.


A40 t1_j9ota98 wrote

So "This ‘climate-friendly’ fuel comes with an astronomical cancer risk | Pollution" is dead accurate..


tobi0666 t1_j9ppds8 wrote

Please remember the guardian wrote the article