Chevron ordered to pay up for 2012 refinery fire

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Chevron ordered to pay after 2012 refinery fire
Chevron has been ordered to pay up for a 2012 refinery fire in Richmond.

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- Chevron has just been ordered to pay a fine, and make upgrades that could amount to $20 million following a 2012 refinery fire in Richmond.

In August 2012 a pipe ruptured at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, causing a fire that sent toxic black smoke into the air.

Now, Cal/OSHA has reached a settlement with chevron to improve both safety and training practices.

"You had 19 workers that were exposed to hazardous conditions, 15,000 in the community go to the hospitals," Cal/OSHA Process Safety Management Statewide Manager and Policy Advisor Clyde Trombettas said.

Trombettas says they initially issued 17 workplace violations.

Chevron appealed, and although Cal/OSHA had to withdraw some of those violations, Trombettas says the settlement goes above and beyond to increase workplace safety.

Chevron must replace all carbon steel piping, better monitor equipment, and provide more thorough training. The company was also fined more than $1 million.

Doctor Jeffrey Ritterman used to be on the city council. He feels the settlement is just a slap on the wrist.

"I guess what's nice about the settlement is we're always happy when regulatory agencies are out there protecting the community. I guess what's disappointing is they really don't have to put up much money," Ritterman said.

"The pipe replacement, which is what the city Council really wanted, and the monitoring, those are above and beyond the regulation. I can't enforce any other refinery to do those two things right now, but we're able to force Chevron," Trombettas said.

Chevron released a statement saying, "As concluded in the agreement, we will continue to make improvements to our facility, consistent with our ongoing efforts to protect our employees and the community."