SAN FRANCISCO -- A discussion of five Bay Area energy projects and their permit status was moved to next month, after a regional committee hosting it spent most of a morning talking about another matter of public concern, the tracking of emissions from petroleum refining.

The Stationary Source Committee of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District tentatively rescheduled the energy projects discussion to May 1, said committee chairman John Gioia.

The five projects are:

  • Crude oil shipment by rail to the Valero refinery in Benicia;

  • A WesPac Energy crude oil terminal in Pittsburg;

  • A propane and butane recovery project at the Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo;

  • A hydrogen and sulfur recovery project at the Chevron refinery in Richmond;

  • Kinder Morgan's ethanol and crude oil rail-to-truck transloading operation in Richmond.

    Monday's committee meeting focused on developing rules for tracking petroleum refining emissions.

    Features under consideration include deploying "fence line" emission air monitoring systems and other community air monitoring systems; developing enhanced tracking methodology; and providing more opportunities for public review and comment. More hearings could follow, and the full board could consider adopting rules in October.

    Issues of contention between environmentalists and representatives of refining industries include an emissions baseline, emissions reduction credits and a cap on emissions. Several environmentalists cautioned the board not to let tracking and collecting data become a substitute for action to clean the air.

    Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at Twitter.com/tomlochner.