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Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:30 PM

Asian Americans upset over oil company’s unpaid water bill

Asian Americans upset over oil company’s unpaid water bill

WILMINGTON – A number of Asian Americans were part of a large group of demonstrators that gathered outside a Southern California major refinery last week protesting the company’s refusal to pay its water bill.

On Wednesday, November 28, the Water Replenishment District filed a lawsuit against Tesoro Corporation claiming that the company has not paid its water bills for three months but continues to pump 12 million gallons of groundwater each month for use at its Wilmington refinery operations.

Tesoro owes more than $600,000 in unpaid water bills and unlike a public utility, the WRD cannot simply turn off the supply, according to officials.

“Tesoro is engaging in behavior you’d expect from a bully, a bad neighbor and a freeloader,” said Albert Robles, the WRD president. “It’s simply irresponsible to refuse to pay for water you need for your own business operations while jeopardizing the regions’ groundwater supply for millions of Southern California residents.”


Tesoro said the company ceased payment after they claim that the water district board violated a state Constitution regarding the assessment of fees. The company said it would not pay until the litigation process is concluded.

Still residents are upset that a “billion-dollar” company can’t pay its water bill and they may have to front the cost.

“A lot of Asian and Pacific Islanders live here in the South Bay area,” said Mark Masaoka, the Policy Coordinator for the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council (A3PCON). “We are concerned that if water is being pumped out illegally or without payment, that raises cost to all of the consumers in the area who have to pay more for water to replace the water that Tesoro is taking out of the ground.”


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