The fire that destroyed part of Chevron’s Richmond refinery happened because weak state regulations allowed the company to monitor rather than simply fix potential problems, federal investigators said Monday.
“The bottom line,” Rafael Moure-Eraso, chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, “is that Chevron had resources, time and technical expertise to know the risks. However, there was no effective intervention before the major accident occurred.
Anyone who thought manipulation of California energy prices ended with the criminal penalties assessed against executives of companies like Enron and Williams Energy after the state’s 2000-2001 electricity crunch turns out to have been hopelessly naive.
All the available evidence now suggests price-fixing continues not only in electric power, but that gasoline is also in play.
Consumer Watchdog, saying that refineries operating in the state may have falsified information to help boost gasoline prices, wants the California attorney general to launch a criminal investigation.
The advocacy group made its request in a letter to state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris.
“It appears that California’s oil refineries falsified public information to drive up the price of gasoline,” Consumer Watchdog’s president, Jamie Court, and energy project director, Liza Tucker, said in the letter.