RICHMOND, CA. — Assemblymember Nancy Skinner and State Senator Loni Hancock are calling for a state-level oversight hearing to ensure that existing regulations, procedures and enforcement mechanisms are adequate to help prevent incidents like the recent Chevron Refinery fire. Recognizing that last month's refinery fire could have resulted in more severe consequences, review of the incident will help assess whether additional legislative or other action is needed to make certain that the health and safety of all Californians is protected.
The legislators released the following statements today:
"We've learned hard lessons from past events such as the San Bruno pipeline explosion, and it's clear from information that has emerged so far about this refinery fire that more needs to be done to protect public health and safety. As legislators, it's our responsibility to ensure that our regulations are working and that companies are in compliance.” -Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
"The important thing is to take positive and serious steps to ensure that these sorts of incidents do not occur in the future. This is an opportunity to determine whether additional legislation or other action is needed to ensure that public and worker health is protected in the region and throughout the state.” -Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland)
Skinner and Hancock noted that the information gathering and investigations of local, state and federal agencies are not complete, yet fact finding has revealed so far that:
- Notification to West Contra Costa County residents was inadequate;
- Response plans like shelter-in-place procedures appear to be insufficient;
- Existing monitoring equipment in and around the refinery could not detect emissions on the night of the incident;
- Maintenance of refinery equipment appears to have been inadequate;
- A bypass pipe at the refinery site may have been releasing unmonitored emissions.
CONTACT: Tracie Morales, 510-286-1400 (o)