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Report: Chevron Richmond refinery fire response flawed  
sfgate.com

The August 2012 fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond was made worse by a flawed emergency response as well as lax safety attitudes at the plant, according to report approved Wednesday night by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. The three-member panel has issued a string of reports calling for an overhaul of state and federal regulations and industry practices since the blaze, which was caused by a corroded and leaky pipe and sent 15,000 people to hospitals seeking treatment. The agency‚¬Ä¬ôs chairman, Rafael Moure-Eraso, opened the board‚¬Ä¬ôs meeting in Richmond by saying the goal of the reports is to ensure that Chevron and other refiners ‚¬Ä¬úare not simply completing paperwork‚¬Ä¬Ě to comply with existing regulations but will seek the safest ways possible to process crude oil. In the report, the board staff said a number of refinery workers expressed fear in a 2010 survey that they would be punished if they exercised their right under state law to order a shutdown based on safety. ‚¬Ä¬úThese trends could explain why no individuals used their stop-work authority on the day of the incident, despite some participants reporting in interviews that they were not comfortable with the hazardous work activity taking place,‚¬Ä¬Ě the report concluded. ‚¬Ä¬úThis lack of knowledge led the incident commander to direct emergency responders to take actions that may have ultimately exacerbated the leak and put many Chevron personnel in harm‚¬Ä¬ôs way,‚¬Ä¬Ě the report said. ‚¬Ä¬úChevron had no formal system to decide the right people were gathering information‚¬Ä¬Ě on the events of that day, he said, and no protocol on whether to shut down the unit. Since the fire, the company says, it has inspected and surveyed 12,000 sections of pipe and taken other safety measures. Clyde Trombettas, head of the state‚¬Ä¬ôs refinery inspection effort, said that since the fire, the state is notified in advance when the 15 refineries are down for maintenance and now conduct two detailed inspections each year.
Submitted 6 hours ago by eureka!
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The Nooner for January 28th

 

US SENATE: Loretta Sanchez to take "several months" to decide on whether to run for Barbara Boxer's Senate seat. Meanwhile, Kamala Harris is picking up a significant endorsement daily and raising dough. [Loretta Sanchez sets timeline for U.S. Senate decision [Christopher Cadelago @ SacBee]

PLUNGE: Kern County Declares A Fiscal Emergency Amid Plunging Oil Prices [Tiffany Hsu @ LAT] 

While the drop in oil prices has been great at the pump (of course, just as I get an electric vehicle), it's putting pressure on Kern County and we'll see that hit the state budget as school property taxes drop and the requirement for additional general fund dollars under Proposition 98.

OC BOS: Another Orange County Nail-Biter! Andrew Do takes 2-vote lead over Lou Correa [John Hrabe] - In all likelihood, Correa wins this, as late VBM and provisional ballots have consistently favored Democrats.

Coincidentally, as John Hrabe pointed out in an email, this is the first election to be affected by a new law that took effect January 1. That law allows vote by mail ballots to be counted if postmarked by election day and received within three days after the election. Previously, ballots had to be received by election day. Typically, those late ballots would lean heavily Democratic. The author of that new law, none other than Lou Correa.


[full Nooner]

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