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Refinery Watch

  • Contra Costa health officials issued a health advisory for communities surrounding a Tesoro oil refinery near Martinez. The problem? Heavy smoke from the refinery put people – especially those with pre-existing medical conditions – at risk of experiencing respiratory problems. The company says the problem was due to a broken steam generator resulting in what the company called “excessive flaring.”
  • New CA refinery regulations aiming to reduce emissions by 14% sound great, as the regs will take 2,310 tons of pollution out of the air annually. But in the grand scheme of things, the reduction is only about 0.6% of the overall air pollution in the Bay Area air basin, reports SJMN.
  • In 2014, the Shell Martinez Refinery used 11.1 million gallons of water a day on average. The Tesoro refinery wasn't far behind, consuming 9.3 million gallons on the daily. That’s right - two California refineries alone drain 20 million gallons of water each day, reports SF Chronicle.

Is your pipeline running?

For decades, utilities in California have logged, but not repaired, thousands of pin prick leaks in natural gas pipelines crisscrossing the state. These leaks are considered non-hazardous because they don’t pose a health or safety risk. But they do pose an environmental risk. Collectively, the leaks are equivalent to 700,000 more cars on the roads in California, reports KQED.

Big Oil weakens clean air proposal

The SoCal air district proposed a plan to reduce smog by imposing a cap on nitrogen oxide emissions. The pollution cap could also have significantly cut emergency room visits and respiratory problems in the region. But good ol’ Big Oil fought hard, and managed to weaken the proposal. What a victory.

Congress teaches a lesson in hypocrisy 

Just two days after nearly 200 countries at COP21 made strong commitments to reducing global emissions, the U.S. Congress lifted a 40-year ban on oil exports. While a new federal budget deal includes tax breaks for renewables, it also lifts the ban on oil companies exporting crude oil. One study pegs the export amount as the carbon equivalent of 135 coal-fired power plants. The oil industry celebrated the move, while Bill McKibben compared it to “launching a vegetarian cookbook at a steakhouse.”


Oopsie daisy 

A contractor in Somis accidentally drilled into an oil pipeline while fixing a power line. The leak was stopped in an hour - but not before 7,980 gallons spilled, reports Ventura County Star


Power to the People

Word came in that WesPac withdrew its application for a massive oil terminal in Pittsburg, CA, which would have included a marine port for oil tankers, more than a dozen oil storage tanks, an oil train offloading terminal, and multiple pipelines to local refineries. Why? Low gas prices and high-octane activist pressure. Fight on!


Call to Action:
let's stop the largest proposed crude by rail terminal in North America

At 360,000 barrels per day, Tesoro Savage’s Vancouver project would bring four or more mile-long trains carrying explosive crude oil through Spokane, the Columbia River Gorge, and Vancouver every day. When oil trains derail, they often spill, explode, and ignite. We have already seen these devastating accidents across North America. 

Help stop Tesoro
Fracking: it’s worse than we thought… again! A new study finds that Barnett Shale methane emissions are far higher than initial estimates predicated.
In an interesting revolving door, Brenna Butler Garcia, chief executive of the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, will leave that post to become marketing manager for the Western States Petroleum Association. Welcome to the Dark Side, Brenna… 
Stars spoof the Kochs: An all-star team spoofed the Koch brothers by pretending to sing a song at their behest about how climate change isn’t real. “Droughts have always been super common,” they sing, “NASA’s wrong. Sea levels aren’t rising!”
Investigations targeting major oil and coal companies are starting to yield results. Not only is the public beginning to accept climate change as a real danger, they’re realizing that fighting it is a viable option, reports Scientific American.
Post Paris climate agreement, renewables stocks soar, fossil fuel stocks tank.
Study: 6 out of every 100 deaths globally are from air pollution.
Posing as a Middle Eastern oil company, a Greenpeace sting operation asked professors at major American universities to write papers for them about the benefits of oil use. Not only did the professors suggest they’d be happy to do so, one of their associates, a former Exxon lobbyist, even offered to help the oil company keep its funding secret, reports the NYT
A report reveals how, unrestrained by reality, an offshore drilling plan projected oil prices three times higher than the current rate.
The San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System board voted to divest all of its coal holdings and reinvest the $21 million in renewable energy. #goodcall
Climate change is coming—is your state ready? The States at Risk project gives states a grade based on their ability to handle extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland flooding, and coastal flooding. And good news - California got an A! Guess all that climate change adaptation planning will pay off...
Arctic temperatures soar and have a profound effect on the region, reports the Guardian
Beijing issues 'red alert' over air pollution.
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