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Gives details of 6-point oil Refinery Safety Plan,” which includes a ban on Modified Hydrofluoric Acid

CONTACT: Kerry Townsend Jacob, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 310-806-0893

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.

His testimony is below:

“On the morning of the explosion on February 18 of 2015, my wife, my then six-year-old daughter and I lived less than two miles from the refinery. This issue and that explosion was a real wake up call for me and for many people in this community. We know that this refinery has been here for long time, but a lot of this news about this long history of safety violations of this refinery started to come to light after decades of safety violations. The state regulators fined the refinery over a half-million dollars for safety violations, for willful, intentional violations. That contradicts anyone who claims they have a good safety record.”

“We know that the federal regulators, the U.S. chemical safety board, said that this was a near catastrophe that was narrowly avoided. These are the Federal and State government officials who are saying this is a dangerous condition. And we have known about this for decades. The city of Torrance sued the refinery in the 1990s to ban hydrofluoric acid and yet we are still talking about it.”

“I worked with Families Lobbying Against Refinery Exposures and Torrance Refinery Action Alliance and we came up with a six point safety refinery plan. It includes:

  1. Ban the use of highly toxic Modified Hydrofluoric Acid. Work with the Torrance refinery, refinery workers, and the City of Torrance to transition to safer alternative technology.

  1.  Install real-time air quality monitors surrounding the Torrance Refinery and provide real-time data to South Bay residents to monitor toxic chemicals and emissions.

  1. Install and regularly test an effective alarm system capable of warning South Bay residents of accidents or potentially harmful events at the Torrance Refinery.

  1. Update the Community Disaster Preparedness Plan to include a potential Modified Hydrofluoric Acid release, and ensure that local schools, hospitals, elderly care facilities, playing fields, and other areas where people congregate regularly review and practice the plan.  Educate local residents on the dangers of Modified Hydrofluoric Acid and how to deal with a release.

  1.  Form a Torrance refinery community advisory panel to focus on disaster preparedness, community education, and resident input and concerns.

  1. Work with the Torrance refinery, refinery workers, and City of Torrance to ensure that the jobs and economic benefits of the refinery continue to benefit Torrance and the South Bay. 

Thank you very much.”

Muratsuchi represented the 66th Assembly District from 2012 to 2014, and is widely considered the number one priority and opportunity for state Assembly leadership to regain a Democratic seat. Muratsuchi has lived in the South Bay for the past twenty years with his wife and daughter. He is a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice, a former Torrance School Board member, and a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and UCLA School of Law.