Easy Reader News - Ryan McDonald
Eighteen months after an explosion hit the oil refinery in Torrance, shockwaves are still being felt.
The blast energized Torrance residents, prompting families to organize into dedicated advocacy groups. Now, with regulators and politicians paying increasingly close attention, critical changes to the refining process at the facility — ExxonMobil at the time of the blast, now Torrance Refining Co. — may be on the horizon.
Drawing particular attention is the refinery’s use of modified hydrofluoric acid. While effective in the gasoline production process, hydrofluoric acid is also dangerous, and regulators examining the facility have indicated that the February 2015 incident could have been far worse had the explosion breached the acid storage area, threatening residents all across the South Bay.
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Torrance, CA – Al Muratsuchi, candidate for Assembly for the 66th Assembly District, testified this morning at the EPA/SCAQMD meeting in Torrance about the safety of the Torrance Refining Company. He spoke about the urgent need to make the refinery safe for the people who live around the refinery and throughout the South Bay. The meeting focused on a report released Friday that called for alternatives to Modified Hydrofluoric Acid.
He also gave details of his six-point Refinery Safety Plan to help ensure that the people in Torrance are safe from dangerous emissions from the refinery, including a ban on Modified Hydrofluoric Acid.
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Torrance, CA – Today, outside the EPA and SCAQMD meeting held in Torrance, Al Muratsuchi, Congressman Ted Lieu and environmental experts and activists called for greater oversight of the Torrance Refining Company and presented a detailed, six-point refinery safety plan to help keep families in Torrance safe.
The plan, among other things, called for a ban on modified hydrofluoric acid and a commitment to work toward safer alternatives. On Friday, the ACAQMD released a report that outlined safer alternatives to the use of hydrofluoric acid, a chemical that, if accidentally released through another explosion, would have catastrophic effect on the community and could kill thousands of people.
South Bay area politicians and activists on Monday called for a ban on an acid used at the Torrance refinery, speaking just hours after residents were presented with an unplanned flareup at the facility.
Hydrofluoric acid is used in the refining of petroleum to create gasoline, but it can pose a danger to the public when not handled properly.
“Hydrofluoric acid is extremely dangerous. It is so dangerous that if released into the air, it forms a vapor cloud that travels around with the wind and kills people who come in contact with it,” Congressman Ted Lieu of Torrance said.
Torrance Daily Breeze - Nick Green
Two regulatory agencies met with Torrance residents Monday over refinery safety and emission issues as the plant was forced to flare for a second consecutive day, serving as another reminder to critics of its reliability and pollution problems.
Now owned by PBF Energy, the plant was among 57,582 Southern California Edison customers that lost power at 3:31 a.m. over a wide area that included parts of Torrance, Hawthorne, Gardena and Los Angeles, said utility spokeswoman Mary Ann Milbourn.
Most had their power restored by about 4:48 a.m.