Torrance Refinery concerns conveyed to Riviera residents

Our last General Meeting on November 16 featured Torrance resident/activists providing in-depth analysis of the Torrance Refinery (now owned by PBF) and the dangers that lurk there.  The meeting was facilitated jointly by the RHA and by SETHA, the Southeast Torrance Homeowners Assn.

Maureen Mauk and Catherine Leys of FLARE (Families Lobbying Against Refinery Exposure) spoke passionately about the recent accident history of the refinery, the lack of adequate air pollution monitoring, and the extreme hazard posed by the use in gasoline refining of the potent chemical modified hydrofluoric acid (MHF).

FLARE representatives answer questions at RHA/SETHA meeting Nov 16 2016

FLARE representatives answer questions at RHA/SETHA meeting Nov 16 2016

RHA co-prez Judy Brunetti and SETHA head John Bailey also invited Sally Hayati of TRAA (Torrance Refinery Action Alliance) to discuss in more detail the use of MHF in refineries in general and the truly catastrophic consequences of a significant MHF leak.  (With prevailing Santa Ana winds, the Riviera would be profoundly affected by a major escape.)  The refinery meanwhile has repeatedly reassured the public and the Torrance authorities of its comprehensive measures to safeguard the MHF within  leakproof 50,000 lb tanks.  The most concerning incident occurred in February 2015 when an explosion and fire almost caused a direct hit on one of the tanks by a falling structure.  Ironically, our meeting was held one day after a less significant but worrisome fire near the tanks caused a temporary shutdown of that refinery unit.

It’s clear from recent incidents at the refinery that more comprehensive measures need to be taken to ensure residents’ health and safety, including better monitoring of particulate pollutants, improved warning systems and response times, and efforts to reduce or eliminate the use of MHF – admittedly, an expensive undertaking.

Here are some relevant links:

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