Greater Richmond refinery accidents settled as part of Chevron deal

Greater Richmond refinery accidents settled as part of Chevron deal

Chevron says it informs the public and the air district of its releases. The company notes that residents can check real-time air quality data through the refinery’s fence monitoring system. The causes of many gas flaring events are published several months later on the air district’s website.

“Chevron Richmond will also implement various improvements to our burn monitoring and sampling systems and create ways to discuss burn events and other air quality issues directly with our community,” the company said through its representative.

The 71 violations from the October 2021 incident include times when Chevron violated public nuisance, permit conditions, and visible emissions and flare control regulations, according to Christine Roselius, a spokeswoman for the air district. But the settlement essentially withholds the fine amount for each penalty.

“We have taken into account the severity of these violations when determining the appropriate total penalty amount for all covered violations, but there is no allocation of specific dollar amounts to each individual violation,” Roselius said in an email.

In the past decade, the oil industry has successfully blocked or delayed legislative attempts to increase penalties on refineries that violate California’s air quality laws. The latest bill, proposed by Assemblywoman Buffy Weeks (D-Oakland), would increase the cap on many of those penalties to $30,000 per violation. That bill, AB 1465, is pending.

Air district officials say 13 of the Chevron violations settled in the latest deal were related to an incident on Nov. 2, 2020, when an incorrectly classified electrical circuit caused a power outage that ignited more than 100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. Sulfur and other chemicals. .

The agency says another 11 violations were related to a malfunction at the Richmond refinery on March 9, 2023, when a hydrogen production plant stopped operating due to an electrical equipment failure. On the same day, a fire broke out due to a leaking pump seal.

For many years, Chevron’s Richmond refinery has caught fire more often than other refineries in the Bay Area.

“The performance of its gas combustion has been steadily improving over the past few years,” the company says.

“To complement these efforts, we will formalize an operator training program related to gas flaring mitigation and conduct a comprehensive assessment of previous gas flaring events to determine if any additional corrective actions are needed,” the company said.

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