SCAQMD Refinery Committee Hearing on Torrance Refining Co.

Updated on April 19, 2017

On Saturday, April 1, 2017, the SCAQMD Refinery Committee held a full-day investigative hearing attended by more than 250 residents and refinery workers, SCAQMD Board members questioned numerous experts and listened to community members to help inform the agency’s effort to reduce air pollution and improve safety at the facility.

The hearing was led by SCAQMD Refinery Committee Chairman Dr. Clark E. Parker, Sr., Ph.D, and attended by Refinery Committee members Joseph Lyou, Ph.D., and Rolling Hills Estates Council Member Judith Mitchell. Chairman Burke joined the committee as an ad hoc member for the hearing and provided opening comments.

During the hearing SCAQMD Board members and attendees heard from local elected officials, representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California EPA, Bay Area AQMD, SCAQMD, PBF Refinery, an independent refinery expert retained by SCAQMD, local fire officials, trade unions and the community groups Families Lobbying Against Refinery Exposures and Torrance Refinery Action Alliance.

A full agenda is available online.  Please click on the panelist names below to view their presentations (written presentations were not received by all panelists):  

Elected Officials
Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, 66th District
Mayor Patrick Furey, City of Torrance
Supervisor Janice Hahn, 4th District

State Representatives
Paul Penn, Emergency Management & Refinery Safety Program Manager, Cal EPA
 & Interagency Refinery Task Force
Michael Benjamin, Division Chief, CARB Monitoring Division

Federal Representative
Dan Meer, Assistant Director, Superfund Division, U.S. EPA

Air Districts

Wayne Kino, Director of Enforcement, Bay Area AQMD
Laki Tisopulos, Deputy Executive Officer, Permitting & Engineering, SCAQMD
Glyn Jenkins, Bastleford Engineering

Local Representatives

Fire Chief Martin Serna, Torrance Fire Department
Bill Jones, Chief, LA County Fire Department, Health Hazmat Division, LA County CUPA

PBF
Jeffrey Dill, PBF Energy President, Western Region
Steven Steach, Refinery Manager
David Campbell, United Steelworkers Local 675
Chris Hannan, Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades

Community Perspective
Dr. Sally Hayati, Ph.D, President, Torrance Refinery Action Alliance
Catherine Leys, Co-founder, Families Lobbying Against Refinery Exposures
Maureen Mauk, Co-Founder, Families Lobbying Against Refinery Exposures  (MP4 Video, 36MB)

The hearing was recorded by Torrance City Cable and will be broadcast on the Spectrum cable system, Frontier FiOS, and over-the-air digital broadcast KNET 25.2.  It also will be posted on the Torrance Citicable YouTube channel.

The Board also heard testimony from several dozen residents and refinery workers. However, since more than 100 asked to speak, a follow-up hearing was held on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at Torrance City Council Chambers to hear from those who submitted a Request to Speak card, but did not have an opportunity to do so.  The agenda is available here.

SCAQMD will develop or amend three refinery regulations this year to reduce air pollution in the region, specifically:
- Additional requirements to reduce planned and unplanned flaring;
- Requirements for refineries to monitor air quality at their fence line and/or in the nearby community to better assess potential exposure; and
- A requirement for the two refineries that use modified hydrofluoric acid – Torrance Refining Co. and Valero Wilmington Refinery – to phase out the highly toxic chemical.

For more information, please contact the Public Advisor at 909-396-2432 or by email at PublicAdvisor@aqmd.gov
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