In The News

Featured

In The News

The Torrance Refinery Action Alliance has updated its website and added In The News to focus on the latest news of the efforts to transition refineries, both locally and across the nation, from highly dangerous HF alkylation to a vastly safer process. The redesigned TRAA Newsletter gets the word out to the public.

Continue reading “In The News”

TRAA’s Monthly Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, October 13 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Be involved with important national and local issues of HF refineries and their impact on community safety.

The October meeting will focus on the national level with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the latest status of nominations to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB).

There also will be an important report from the TRAA Voter Advisory Panel on upcoming elections affecting the South Bay.

And, meet TRAA’s new intern Nia Liggins! Nia Liggins has joined the TRAA team as an intern/staff and committed to at least working 10 hours a week for the next ten weeks. She is currently working on (among other things) getting contact information for the appropriate staff people for the 36 Congress members and 40 Senators who have HF in their jurisdictions. She is terrific and a big help. Nia came to us via David Colgan, Communications Director of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

To attend the virtual meeting, RSVP with an e-mail request for a Zoom link to TRAA President Steven Goldsmith at info@TRAA.website.

How One Washington County Took On the Fossil Fuel Industry—and Won

Sierra – the magazine of the Sierra Club – tells how Whatcom County, located in the northwest corner of the United States and home to two of Washington State’s five oil refineries, is the first in the U.S. to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Firefighters spray water at the Cherry Point Refinery fire in Whatcom County, Washington. | Photo by AP Photo/The Bellingham Herald/Philip A. Dwyer

In this inspiring David-and-Goliath article, Carl Weimer, a fierce advocate for pipeline safety and past Whatcom County Councilmember, concludes:

“We didn’t have any hope that the federal government was going to protect us. So, we had to try to do what we could locally. I think often local governments underestimate how much power they have. This was certainly an experiment in that. How far could we push it? How much could we use local zoning and planning issues to control industries that have a much broader impact? And we found we could do quite a bit.”

This Sierra Club article underscores the critical importance of electing informed members to City Councils in the South Bay, which is a goal of TRAA and the TRAA Voter Advisory Panel.

Read the full Sierra Club article by clicking here.

National Expert on Hazardous Chemicals & California Democratic Party Executive Board Member to Headline TRAA’s Monthly Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, September 8 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Former Managing Director of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board Dr. Daniel Horowitz and California Democratic Party Executive Board member Tony Hale will headline TRAA’s September Meeting. Daniel will talk about new nominees to the CSB, and Tony will discuss the upcoming Torrance elections and candidates. They will be available to answer questions.

Daniel Horowitz, Ph.D.
Former Managing Director of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board

Tony Hale
California Democratic Party Executive Board member for the 66th Assembly District

Dr. Daniel Horowitz is an organic chemist and former Managing Director of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. Dr. Horowitz recently wrote the compelling opinion piece for The New York Times:
This Chemical Kills. Why Aren’t Regulators Banning It?

Professional political consultant living in Redondo Beach, Tony Hale serves as an Executive Board member of the California Democratic Party for the 66th Assembly District. He is also the Chair of the Resolutions Committee of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.

(click speakers’ names above to see their bios)

Dr. Daniel Horowitz and Tony Hale have graciously accepted an invitation to open TRAA’s September monthly Zoom meeting. Daniel will talk about new nominees to the CSB, and Tony will discuss the upcoming Torrance elections and candidates. They will be available to answer questions.

To attend the virtual meeting, RSVP with an e-mail request for a Zoom link to TRAA President Steven Goldsmith at info@TRAA.website.

TRAA’s Position on the Recall Election – Please Vote NO

We at the Torrance Refinery Action Alliance (TRAA) have only one mission and that is to see the Torrance and Valero refineries replace hydrofluoric acid (HF/MHF) with a safer chemical, one that will not threaten our communities. We believe Governor Newsom is the best candidate for achieving our mission.

The governor makes important appointments to regulatory boards. His appointments to the Cal-EPA, California Air Resources Board and the Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) are of particular importance to TRAA.

Governor Gavin Newsom

Recently Governor Newsom appointed someone we believe is a champion for our cause. We’ve met with him and he gets it. We didn’t need to explain the danger posed by HF to him, as we usually must do with appointees and elected officials. He was well versed in the danger before he came into the Zoom room. He’s worked on environmental issues for a long time.

So, for us the choice is clear, and we ask our supporters to VOTE NO ON THE RECALL in order to retain Governor Gavin Newsom. (Vote NO on question 1).

Read about Governor Gavin Newsom at his official website: https://www.gov.ca.gov/

Speak Out at SCAQMD Board Zoom Meeting on Friday Sept  3 at 9 a.m. PDT

Two years ago, ignoring staff warnings, the AQMD Board said they were okay with massive quantities of HF a short distance from where over a million people live, work, and play. Residents of the South Bay, Los Angeles, and Long Beach regions live with danger and under a cloud of fear. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are vastly safer, commercially available alternatives to HF. Find the link for speaking below.

The Message to Deliver: Two Years & Not Safe — Enough is Enough — Require Refinery Conversion from HF to a Vastly Safer Alternative — HF/MHF Must GO!

Read what the South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board did two years ago on that fateful day Friday, September 6, 2019 in the Los Angeles Times article:

Air Board Kills Regulation of Dangerous Refinery Acid in Favor of Oil Industry Plan

“Near Miss”
40-ton debris lands within 5 feet from MHF tanks at the Torrance refinery in 2015

TRAA & Allies Will Attend the Sept 3 SCAQMD Meeting with a Clear Message:

  • Since September 6, 2019, neither refinery added mitigation measures that would prevent a massive, deadly release of HF.
Continue reading “Speak Out at SCAQMD Board Zoom Meeting on Friday Sept  3 at 9 a.m. PDT”

Congresswoman Nanette Barragán Welcomes EPA Administrator Michael Regan to Los Angeles to Highlight Environmental Justice Issues

On Thursday, August 19, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan joined Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán and local activists to discuss environmental justice issues in Los Angeles County.

Congresswoman Barragán led EPA’s top person, Administrator Michael Regan, on a tour of her district to show him some of the neighborhoods severely affected by pollution, and facilitate discussions between Administrator Regan and Los Angeles County residents who live near these polluted sites.

Congresswoman Nanette Barragán and EPA Administrator Michael Regan

The Congresswoman’s 44th District comprises Carson, Compton, East Compton, East Rancho Dominguez, Lynwood, North Long Beach, San Pedro, South Gate, Watts, Walnut Park, West Rancho Dominguez, Willowbrook, and Wilmington. The district is the setting for the New York Times opinion video Living Near Oil Production Is Deadly. Why Don’t California Lawmakers Care? by Josiah Edwards, who is a climate organizer in Carson.

At the Wilmington Boys & Girls Club, Congresswoman Barragán and Administrator Regan heard from local advocates, made brief remarks, took questions from journalists, and listened to local environmental justice advocates. They looked at oil drilling sites right next to homes and the Boys & Girls Club and went on a short drive to the site of a working oil pump immediately between two homes and right in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

Congresswoman Nanette Barragán is a strong advocate for removing highly dangerous hydrogen fluoride from the two South Bay refineries that use it. She and Congressman Ted Lieu wrote a letter to the AQMD expressing their support of a ban, see:
https://traa.website/letters-of-support-from-elected-officials/

Congresswoman Barragan requested materials from TRAA for her to personally deliver to Administrator Regan.

Congresswoman Nanette Barragán
Continue reading “Congresswoman Nanette Barragán Welcomes EPA Administrator Michael Regan to Los Angeles to Highlight Environmental Justice Issues”

National Expert on Terrorism and Hazardous Chemicals to Headline TRAA’s Monthly Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, August 11 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Washington D.C.-based public interest consultant Rick Hind has been a leading advocate for environmental justice for decades. In his twenty-six-year career as the former Legislative Director of Greenpeace, Hind led a national campaign to prevent catastrophic chemical accidents, which resulted in a presidential executive order and revised EPA regulations in 2017, successfully aided in winning passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of the first true disaster prevention legislation in 2009, and led U.S. efforts to the U.N. Stockholm treaty to gradually eliminate some of the worst toxic pollutants on a global scale.

Rich Hind

Rick Hind is one of the nation’s foremost experts on a variety of toxics issues, including security issues related to chemical hazards and the chemical industry. In the 2004 New York Times Op Ed Lots of Chemicals, Little Reaction, Rick Hind, along with co-author David Halprin, brought to the public’s attention “one of the most urgent threats to our safety: the risk that terrorists could cause thousands, even millions, of deaths by sabotaging one of the 15,000 industrial chemical plants across the United States.” In his 2013 U.S. House of Representatives testimony, Homeland Security Regulations Leave Millions of People at Risk, Rick Hind emphasizes the threat that the American public faces from potential acts of chemical terrorism.

Rick Hind has graciously accepted an invitation to open TRAA’s August monthly Zoom meeting with his views on transitioning HF refineries to using a vastly safer alternative. Following his comments, Rick will be available to answer questions.

To attend the virtual meeting, RSVP with an e-mail request for a Zoom link to TRAA President Steven Goldsmith at info@TRAA.website. If you have a question for Rick Hind, include it in your request for a Zoom link. You’ll be able to ask a question during the meeting as well .

TRAA Seeking Letters of Support & Comments to EPA by July 31 Deadline

As part of the national effort to phase out HF in refineries, TRAA has submitted a proposed amendment to the EPA Risk Management Plan (RMP) Rule CFR 40 Part 68. The objective of TRAA’s amendment is to force conversion from HF to a vastly safer alternative.

On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued E.O. 13990, which directed federal agencies to review existing regulations and take action to address priorities established by the Biden administration. The EPA responded by undertaking a revision to its Risk Management Plan regulations (40 CFR part 68 – Chemical Accident Prevention Provisions) to minimize public impacts of accidental releases of highly hazardous chemicals.

We’re asking your help in submitting a comment and letter to the EPA in support of TRAA’s proposed amendment. These will be read by EPA staff as they write a revised Rule — due out in September 2021. Submitting your or your organization’s thoughts and any additional data or information will be invaluable in the effort to protect communities from a catastrophic release of HF.

Continue reading “TRAA Seeking Letters of Support & Comments to EPA by July 31 Deadline”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters to Headline TRAA’s Monthly Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, July 14 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Considered one of the most powerful women in American politics today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters is a strong and impassioned advocate for eliminating the massive quantities of highly dangerous hydrogen fluoride (HF) from the two refineries in the South Bay that use it.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters
Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is among the leaders in the effort to ban HF since day one. Her constituents in the 43rd Congressional District, which includes portions of the cities of Los Angeles (including LAX) and Torrance, and the entirety of the cities of Hawthorne, Lawndale, Gardena, Inglewood, and Lomita, are at high risk from major accidental release of HF from either the Torrance Refining Company, which is in her District, or the Valero Refinery in Wilmington.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters has graciously accepted an invitation to open TRAA’s July monthly zoom meeting with her views on banning HF. Following her comments, she will be available to answer questions.

To attend the virtual meeting, RSVP with an e-mail request for a Zoom link to TRAA President Steven Goldsmith at info@TRAA.website. If you have a question for Congresswoman Waters, include it in your request for a Zoom link. You’ll be able to ask a question during the meeting as well.

Urgent: Also contact TRAA President Steven Goldsmith if you’d like to join TRAA’s team to propose an EPA Rule banning HF. An important deadline for submitting data is coming up this Thursday, July 15, 2021. This is a chance to help with TRAA’s submittal to the EPA. Hear more information at the July 14 TRAA meeting. 

Read Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ letter to the  AQMD supporting a ban on HF at the South Bay refineries by clicking here, and learn more about her by clicking here.

Just In: Tanker Truck Loaded with 30 Tons of HF Overturns in China – One Person Dies

Unknown amount of HF released. Photos show the accident happened on a rural stretch of highway. In an urban setting, fatalities could have been catastrophic. Hundreds of trucks like these, loaded with HF, travel the U.S. highways every week, imperiling the communities they travel through.

HF truck overturned about 5 kilometers from the Lanhai Expressway Dasi toll station in the direction of Qinzhou, China

On June 21, 2021, the Qinzhou Fire and Rescue Detachment Command Center received an alarm: A large truck carrying vegetables collided with a tank truck loaded with 31.2 tons of hydrofluoric acid about 5 kilometers from the Lanhai Expressway Dasi toll station in the direction of Qinzhou. Nineteen fire trucks from Qinzhou and its Port District Chemical Rescue Team were dispatched to the scene. They quickly carried out rescue work and plugged the leak. The amount of HF released was not stated in the news article; however, a rupture that released a major portion in an urban setting would be disastrous. Local governments and public security departments urgently evacuated village residents within 2 kilometers of the accident. Expressway and local traffic police departments evacuated and diverted vehicles stranded on the expressway.

Ground-hugging aerosol cloud from hydrogen fluoride released from an overturned tanker truck.

After 12 hours of joint efforts by the fire, public security, traffic police, environmental protection, and other departments, the rescue work was successfully completed, and the danger was eliminated. The accident caused one minor injury and one death, although the cause was not stated.

Click to read news source.