Feds: CA Should Bolster Refinery Oversight

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) - Federal investigators looking into last year's fire at Chevron's Richmond refinery say the incident shows stronger oversight of oil refineries is needed.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board on Friday said California worker safety regulators lacked "well-trained, technically competent staff" and that more rigorous state and federal regulations were needed to increase safety at refineries.

Dan Tillema, the board's lead investigator, said California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health conducted only three planned "process safety" inspections of the facility over the six years prior to the fire, and issued no citations.

The agency also said there is nothing in the current regulations that require oil refinery operators to perform periodic corrosion reviews, giving regulators no help in forcing companies to replace aged equipment.

Neither Cal-OSHA nor Chevron returned requests for comment.

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