Report: Chevron El Segundo refinery pipes corroded

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tests of pipe samples from Chevron Corp.’s El Segundo refinery found corrosion to an extent similar to the pipe that failed and caused a large fire at the company’s Richmond facility, a report released Thursday found.

The tests found up to 60 percent wall loss in a pipe at the El Segundo refinery that processed the same type of crude as its sister facility in Northern California, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Chevron ignored a decade of warnings before Richmond refinery explosion

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.

U.S. board tells Chevron to check refineries for damage

EMERYVILLE, Calif./HOUSTON, April 15 (Reuters) – – The U.S. Chemical Safety Board on Monday recommended that Chevron Corp check for ongoing damage to pipes and equipment at its U.S. refineries to prevent another explosion like the Aug. 6 pipeline blast at the company’s San Francisco Bay area refinery.

The Safety Board, in an interim report issued Monday, said Chevron did not act upon six recommendations over 10 years to increase inspection and replace the line at its Richmond, California, refinery with upgraded pipe.

Chevron refinery fire tied to lax oversight

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.


California: Big Oil AstroTurf Subverts Clean Air and Fuel Standards

While the public demands protections for air, land, and water, the California oil industry uses front groups and spends millions on lobbying the legislature, gaining disproportionate influence in subverting pollution and fuel standards. Keeping the economy addicted to climate-fouling fossil fuels and reaping billions in profits, Big Oil claims to be a “victim” of excessive regulation. Stop Fooling California!

Stop Fooling California, Big Oil!

By Miya Yoshitani and Bill Gallegos

California has long been a national leader in advancing environmental policies and voters have time and again supported our state’s renewable energy, clean air and climate laws. The reasons for this are simple. These common sense laws grow our economy, improve our health and hold polluters accountable for the pollution they created. Today, oil companies are trying to use their billions in annual profits to overturn the laws that an overwhelming majority of Californians support. How you ask? By employing front groups, raining money on lobbyists, and fabricating misinformation campaigns.

Chevron-backed Fueling California is the latest front group tasked with undercutting our clean fuel standards. Though they claim to represent corporate fuel consumers they recently held a closed-door meeting with oil industry leaders under the guise of formulating “alternatives” to our clean fuels goals, despite the fact Californians consistently express their support for these standards.

air quality california pollution

The public supports reasonable clean air and fuels standards that benefit people and the planet. At the same time, oil barons pour huge amounts of money into lobbying legislators, gaining influence and access to subvert, postpone or opt out of regulation.

The public supports reasonable clean air and fuels standards that benefit people and the planet. At the same time, oil barons pour huge amounts of money into lobbying legislators, gaining influence and access to subvert, postpone or opt out of regulation.

The use of front groups is only one tactic Big Oil uses to deceive Californians. The public supports reasonable clean air and fuels standards that benefit people and the planet. At the same time, oil barons pour huge amounts of money into lobbying legislators, gaining influence and access to subvert, postpone or opt out of regulation. In 2012, oil interests spent an astounding $25 million lobbying California officials while reaping a collective $119 billion in global profits. And yet these very companies claim they cannot afford to comply with California’s clean air and fuel standards.

In 2012 three groups, the California Chamber of Commerce, the Western States Petroleum Association andCalifornia Manufacturers & Technology Association, collectively spent $19.8 million to weaken clean air laws. Imagine if they used that to actually clean up the air. It gets worse, instead of owning up to their polluting ways, they use “AstroTurf” groups like Fueling California to do their bidding in an attempt to circumvent their overtly, and justifiably so, toxic image.

Attempting to deceive Californians into believing that oil companies are the victim is a strategy they are unlikely to abandon in the near future. Especially when they know Californians spent more than $60 billion on dirty fuels in 2011. When in one minute you make more than what 96 percent of American households make in an entire year, you don’t want to give that up. Or clean up your mess.

Chevron, Richmond, California

Smoke from the Chevron refinery filled the sky above Richmond after a series of explosions that sent more than 15,000 people to the hospital. Chevron management chose to bypass repairs and keep using a pipe that was 80 percent corroded, which caused the fire. Photo: Lance Iversen, The Chronicle

In California, there’s no better example of oil companies placing profits over people than the Richmond refinery explosion of 2012. Despite noting extreme corrosion in earlier surveys, Chevron management chose to bypass repairs and keep using a pipe that was 80 percent corroded. The result? A massive explosion that sent more than 15,000 people to the hospital, engulfed a large part of the Bay Area in smoke and nearly killed a dozen employees.

Fortunately, Californians can see through the deceptive tactics oil companies love to utilize. We know they want to keep their monopoly, despite the asthma plaguing our children. We know they’ll mislead consumers in the name of profits, despite the voters supporting clean air and fuel standards that protect people and the planet.

That’s why we are part of the founding endorser organizations of the Stop Fooling CA campaign. We’re partnering with California’s leading health, consumer, clean air and environmental groups to show the oil industry that we know better by calling out their misinformation campaigns and greed-fueled attempts to deceive Californians. It’s time for Big Oil to clean up its act. It is time for them to Stop Fooling California.

Miya Yoshitani
Associate Director
Asian Pacific Environmental Network

Bill Gallegos
Executive Director
Communities for a Better Environment

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

Senators ask U.S. to probe California gasoline prices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Six U.S. senators on Tuesday called for the U.S. Justice Department to investigate whether market manipulation by West Coast oil refiners contributed to a price spike in May and October that sent gasoline prices to record highs above $5 a gallon.

The senators, all Democrats, want the Justice Department to conduct a “refinery-by-refinery probe” and subpoena records from California refineries to see whether public reports of maintenance shutdowns were accurate. Two of the state’s largest refiners are Valero Energy Corp and Tesoro Corp.