East Bay lawmakers introduce bills aimed at Chevron in aftermath of Richmond refinery fire

RICHMOND — Responding to last year’s massive refinery fire at Chevron’s refinery here, East Bay legislators Loni Hancock and Nancy Skinner introduced two state bills late Friday aimed at strengthening air quality regulators’ ability to penalize and compel industry compliance.

State Sen. Hancock’s bill, SB 691, aims to increase civil penalties that stationary air pollution facilities must pay for violations of state air quality regulations. Assemblywoman Skinner’s bill, AB 1165, would give the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) new powers to force the correction of unsafe conditions regardless of whether an appeals process is initiated.

$1 million fine for Chevron not enough

The $1 million fine proposed by Cal/OSHA against Chevron is an insufficient penalty for the damage caused by a fire that broke out at the oil giant’s Richmond refinery last August.

I received tougher punishment in elementary school in the 1970s.

Because a $1 million fine to a company that earns that much in global revenue every two minutes isn’t much of a deterrent. It’s like asking for the loose change in their pocket.

Read the full story at SFGate.com