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Sun Sep 23, 2012, 09:16 AM

Criminal investigation at Chevron refinery

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation of Chevron after discovering that the company detoured pollutants around monitoring equipment at its Richmond refinery for four years and burned them off into the atmosphere, in possible violation of a federal court order, The Chronicle has learned.

Air quality officials say Chevron fashioned a pipe inside its refinery that routed hydrocarbon gases around monitoring equipment and allowed them to be burned off without officials knowing about it. Some of the gases escaped into the air, but because the company didn't record them, investigators have no way of being certain of the level of pollution exposure to thousands of people who live downwind from the plant.

"They were routing gas through that pipe to the flare that they were not monitoring," said Jack Broadbent, executive director of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, whose inspectors uncovered what Chevron was doing and ordered the bypass pipe removed.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's criminal enforcement unit opened an investigation in early 2012, more than two years after the local inspectors made their discovery, according to air-quality officials and others familiar with the probe. The investigation is still open, and Chevron employees have been interviewed.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Criminal-investigation-at-Chevron-refinery-3886927.php

6 replies, 1914 views

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Response to Auggie (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 09:43 AM

1. Isn't this the company advertising it's "responsibility to the community".

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Response to Auggie (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 10:21 AM

2. Why did the EPA wait 2 years before opening up an investigation? My thought is if our air quality is

so important, why didn't the EPA shut it down as soon as the local inspectors made the discovery? I don't understand.

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Response to Auggie (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 10:33 AM

3. Waste of Tax Payer's money

All flare gas is captured, compressed into liquid and returned into the process under normal conditions.

All flare activity - when the flare gasses actually sent to the flare to be burned are only under emergency conditions and reported to the air quality board - and yes they are recorded

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Response to Auggie (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 10:59 AM

4. Ohhhh I understand a little now. The DEQ had already fined Chevron 170k,

Last edited Tue Sep 25, 2012, 10:36 PM - Edit history (1)

but the spokesperson for the district didn't know Chevron was under investigation by the EPA. So my conclusion is the district just wanted the money from Chevron, and they actually had no concern about the rerouted pipe OR the people.





Man oh man, President Obama is right about not being able to fix government from "the inside". Therefore, since we're on the outside, We the People have to help fix it.



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Response to jonesgirl (Reply #4)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 05:47 AM

5. Uhhh... Are you talking about the plant in Richmond, California? That's what the thread is about.

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Response to Sirveri (Reply #5)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 10:39 PM

6. Sorry, I mistakenly referred to Virginia. I corrected my post.

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