Sunday, May 3, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Chevron fined nearly $1M for refinery fire

By
From page A2 | January 31, 2013 |

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Chevron was fined nearly $1 million by the state on Wednesday in connection with a fire last year at the company’s San Francisco Bay area refinery that sent a cloud of gas and black smoke over residential areas.

Investigators found “willful violations” in Chevron Corp.’s response before, during and after the Aug. 6 fire in Richmond caused by an old, leaky pipe in one of the facility’s crude units, said Ellen Widess, chief of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

“Our … investigation showed that Chevron had repeated warnings and recommendations from its own metallurgists and pipe inspectors about the condition of this pipe,” Widess said.

“Chevron was in a unique position to really know the hazards that they deal with from their dynamic technologies and processes, many of which are proprietary. They alone were in position to have addressed these hazards.”

The agency filed 25 citations against oil giant, and said the $963,200 in fines were the largest allowed by state law. The company said it planned to appeal some of the violations.

Among the findings, the agency said the company didn’t follow recommendations of its own inspectors and scientists made in 2002 to replace the corroded pipe that ultimately ruptured and caused the fire.

“Chevron had pervasive violations in its leak repair procedures throughout the refinery,” the agency found. “Investigators identified leaks in pipes that Chevron had clamped as a temporary fix. In some cases the clamps remained in place for years, rather than replacing the pipes themselves.”

Cal-OSHA also cited Chevron for not following its own emergency shutdown procedures when the leak was first spotted, and said the company exposed workers to harm by not ensuring they wore proper safety equipment when going back into the burnt out crude unit following the blaze.

No workers were seriously injured in the incident.

Eleven of the violations have been classified as “willful” because investigators found that Chevron had not taken actions to eliminate dangerous conditions for employees, including replacement of the pipe that ruptured.

The investigation also cited the company for failing to file in writing its mandated “thorough review” of a new type of pipe that it wants to use in replacement of the old one that failed.

Company spokesman Sean Comey said Chevron disagreed with some of the violations.

“Although we acknowledge that we failed to live up to our own expectations in this incident, we do not agree with several of the (Cal-OSHA) findings and its characterization of some of the alleged violations as ‘willful,'” he said in an email. “Chevron intends to appeal.”

Smoke and gas from the fire prompted thousands of people to seek medical treatment, with many complaining of eye irritation and breathing problems.

The fire was caused by a decades-old pipe that the company had neglected to replace, even after inspecting areas near the segment that failed less than a year earlier.

Chevron has paid $10 million in connection to nearly 24,000 claims from residents and to nearby hospitals and local government agencies in Richmond and Contra Costa County, the company said in a report filed earlier this week.

Most of that money went to the hospitals to pay for medical exams and treatments following the incident.

While the fines may not be a major deterrent for a company that earned an estimated $25 billion in 2012, the agency said industry is often more sensitive to a violations classification, such as “willful,” than monetary penalties.

“There’s a huge stigma to willful violations with all industries,” Erika Monterroza, a Cal-OSHA spokeswoman.

Chevron’s El Segundo refinery and its oilfield near Bakersfield are also under investigation by Cal-OSHA.

———

By Jason Dearen. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/JHDearen

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

Breaking barriers: For Prieto, it’s all about hard work

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Council to hear about drought pricing

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Peaceful Baltimore demonstrators praise top prosecutor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Nigeria: Nearly 300 freed women, children led to safety

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Downtown altercation leads to injuries

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

Woman arrested for brandishing knife on overpass

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Yolo DA launches monthly newsletter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Can plants talk? UCD prof will answer that question

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
A Scottish setting for local author’s next book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Graveyard thefts land three Woodlanders behind bars

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

 
Garamendi votes against energy, water development bill

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free beginner yoga class offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Video discusses surveillance of prostate cancer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

NAMI support group meets May 10

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Dr. G featured on the radio

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Fee proposed on rail cars that haul oil, other flammables

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Internships move UCD doctoral students beyond academia

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Make Mom a warm vanilla sugar scrub

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

The secret to Mother’s Day gifting success: Give time, not stuff

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Letter book is series of collected missives thanking Mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

If your mom fancies something fancy, consider a tea party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Out of Africa and back to Davis: James Carey will give special presentation

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Big Day of Giving makes philanthropy easy

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Tuleyome Tales: How are a snake and a mushroom alike?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

Tuleyome hosts Snow Mountain camping trip

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

End of life doesn’t mean life must end

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Advancing education for California’s former foster youths

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

With sincere gratitude

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
A wonderful day of service

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

Please help Baltimore

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Eyewitness to the ‘fall’ of Vietnam: It was not a bloodbath

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5 | Gallery

He can’t give it up

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

 
 
Dangers from prescription pills

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Defending champ DHS clinches a baseball playoff berth

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
UCD softball splits with Titans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Trifecta of Devil teams open playoffs Tuesday

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: DHS boys win to reach lacrosse playoffs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Making memories at Aggie Stadium

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Pro baseball roundup: Hudson pitches Giants past Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
UCD roundup: Aggie women speed past Hornets

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

 
New firm helps students on path to college

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A8

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

 
Arcadia partners on soybean trait to improve yield

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

Marrone opens new greenhouse

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, May 3, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8