At a news conference in Emeryville, officials from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board portrayed a refinery that took a Band-Aid approach to plant maintenance — pipes were often clamped as they aged rather than being replaced, and the section of pipe that ruptured had deteriorated to less than half the thickness of a dime.
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.
Federal accident investigators urged a complete overhaul of California’s “patchwork” of oil industry regulations Friday at a state legislative hearing into the fire last year at Chevron’s Richmond refinery.
“This patchwork system of regulation has serious challenges,” said Don Holmstrom, who is leading the investigation for the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, adding that California’s ineffective regulatory efforts reflect weaknesses in federal and other state oversight programs.
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.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Chevron was fined nearly $1 million by the state on Wednesday in connection with a fire at the company’s San Francisco Bay area refinery last year that sent a cloud of gas and black smoke over residential areas.
The California Division of Occupation Safety and Health said investigators found “willful violations” in Chevron Corp.’s response before, during and after the Aug. 6 fire in Richmond caused by an old, leaky pipe in one of the facility’s crude units.
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