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Photo Friday: North Pole, Alaska oil refinery to cease operations

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The town of North Pole, Alaska is home to two oil refineries. On Tuesday, the Flint Hills refinery announced that it will be closing operations this spring, citing high operating costs and uncertainties over future environmental damage remediation costs. Earlier this year, the 37 year-old facility requested that the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation allow for groundwater concentrations of sulfolane - a solvent used in the refinery – up to 25 times higher than state proposals. Specifically, the company was requesting a target of 362 parts per billion versus the 14 parts per billion desired target for this pollutant.

Photo credit: Photo of an oil refinery in North Pole, Alaska by EricaJoy and found using Creative Commons.

Melissa C. Lott About the Author: An engineer and researcher who works at the intersection of energy, environment, technology, and policy. Follow on Twitter @mclott.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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