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TRAA’s Monthly Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, August 10 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

TRAA President Steve Goldsmith writes, “I hope to see you at this Wednesday’s Zoom meeting. We’ll be reporting on some important recent developments listed below.”

  1. A report from the County Board of Supervisors Working Group, established with the objective of providing the County with a plan to bring about conversion away from HF. Expected before August 15.
  2. EPA to announce proposed revisions to the Risk Management Plan Rule, which could provide a pathway to bringing about conversion from HF to a vastly safer alternative at all U.S. HF refineries. Expected before September 30.
  3. Five-year deadline for refineries to report on alternatives to HF, which is a California Air Resources Board requirement. Expected before October 30.

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

TRAA Asks Community Members to Urge the EPA to Adopt an RMP Rule Requiring HF Refineries to Convert to a Vastly Safer Process

Elimination of HF will provide safety from death — as well as day-to-day peace of mind — for hundreds of refinery workers, their families, and for thousands of others at risk in the community.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the leadership of Administrator Michael S. Regan, is in the critical phase of making a long-overdue update to the Risk Management Plan (RMP) rule for facilities that use extremely hazardous substances. EPA’s proposed rule is due this September.

EPA Administrator
Michael S. Regan

TRAA is asking community members to write to EPA Administrator Regan to urge him to adopt a strong RMP rule that requires facilities using chemicals like HF, which pose catastrophic hazards to workers and the community, to convert to an inherently safer chemical when one is available. For refineries using HF, there are proven commercially available alternatives.

TRAA has prepared a letter that can be used as a model. Personalize it and email to Administrator Reagan at Regan.Michael@EPA.gov — or print and mail in an envelope with a stamp. (A copy emailed to info@TRAA.website is kindly requested.)

TRAA’s model letter to EPA Administrator Regan: here

Also, find a letter to Administrator Reagan from 31 Congressmembers and ten Senators here, and a letter from former EPA Administrator and New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, cosigned by 17 prominent experts, here.

Congressmembers & Senators Call for Strong Risk Management Plan Rule by EPA

“EPA should require hazard reduction and best practice prevention measures, such as transitioning to inherently safer chemicals and processes . . .”

Thirty-one Congressmembers, including Southern California Congressmembers Nanette Barragán, Alan S. Lowenthal, and Karen Bass, and ten Senators call for a strong Risk Management Plan rule by the EPA requiring conversion to inherently safer technology for exceptionally dangerous chemicals (like HF).

Read the letter by clicking here

Congresswoman Nanette Barragán


Documentary Filmmaker Olivia Rosenbloom to Headline TRAA’s Monthly Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, July 13 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

TRAA will screen Olivia Rosenbloom’s documentary Near Miss at the meeting, followed by a short Q&A session.

writer and filmmaker Olivia Rosenbloom is passionate about telling stories that explore the humanity at the root of our most pressing social, political, and environmental issues.

Olivia is director and producer of the 26-minute documentary Near Miss. It tells the story of the infamous 2015 explosion at the Torrance refinery, which local activists discovered almost led to a catastrophic release of a massive amount of highly toxic hydrogen fluoride into the community. Near Miss sheds light on the politics of public safety, environmental health, and environmental racism. Watch a one-minute intro to Near Miss by clicking here.

Documentary Filmmaker Olivia Rosenbloom

Olivia Rosenbloom graduated from Brown University with honors in English Nonfiction Writing in May 2020. Previously, she graduated from the Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica, California.

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

A link to watch the screening of Near Miss will be supplied at the meeting. After watching in the virtual company of fellow meeting attendees, the TRAA meeting will resume on Zoom with a Q&A with Olivia Rosenbloom led by Jane Affonso and other important meeting announcements.

TRAA Voter Advisory Panel’s Recommendation for the June 7 Election – Assembly District 65 Democratic Primary

Click Figure for a Full-Size Version
As of 5/11/2022.

The TRAA Voter Advisory Panel submitted the following three questions to the candidates Mike Gipson and Fatima Iqbal-Zubairc for the Assembly District 65 Democratic Primary on Tuesday, June 7, 2022:

  1. Do you support the phase out of hydrofluoric acid (HF), including modified hydrofluoric acid, at the two South Bay refineries that use it — Torrance Refining Company and Valero Refinery in Wilmington?
  2. A) If an incumbent: What did you do to further the cause of phasing out HF at either one or both South Bay refineries that use it?
    B) If a candidate: What will you do to further the cause of phasing out HF at either one or both of the South Bay refineries that use it?
  3. When elected, what do you commit to doing to help achieve the goal of phasing out HF at the two South Bay refineries that use it?

The Panel compiled the answers and graded the candidates on how closely they aligned with TRAA’s mission of bringing about the conversion of the two Southern California refineries that use massive amounts of highly dangerous hydrogen fluoride (HF) — Torrance Refining Company and Valero in Wilmington — to a modern, vastly safer process, as a growing number of HF refineries in the nation have successfully done or are currently doing. Candidates who didn’t respond were given an F. The results are displayed in the scorecard above.

California’s Assembly District 65 is of high importance because it could be catastrophically impacted by an HF release from both the Torrance Refining Company and Valero Refinery in Wilmington. Assembly District 65 includes Carson, Compton, Watts, Rancho Rancho Dominguez, Willowbrook, Wilmington, North Long Beach, North Harbor Gateway, Broadway Manchester.

“Meet the Candidates” for Torrance’s Upcoming Election at TRAA’s Monthly Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, May 11 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

The TRAA Voter Advisory Panel submitted a questionnaire to the candidates for Torrance Mayor, City Council, and Treasurer in the upcoming election on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 and scored them. The top-scoring candidates have been invited to speak at the start of TRAA’s May 11 meeting.

The following Torrance candidates have confirmed:

  • Cliff Numark – Torrance Mayor
  • Jimmy Gow – Torrance City Council, District 1
  • Jon Kaji – Torrance City Council, District 1
    (joining later if schedule permits)
  • David Zygielbaum – Torrance City Council, District 1
  • Asam Sheikh – Torrance City Council, District 3
    (joining later if schedule permits)
  • Jean Adelsman – Torrance City Council, District 5
  • Tim Goodrich – Torrance Treasurer

Click here to see the scorecard and other important election information.

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

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn Receives Sierra Club Environmental Service Award

Janice Hahn has been a leader in the efforts to safeguard the community from a catastrophic release of HF from the two South Bay refineries that use it.

Sierra Club leaders presented LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn with the Sierra Club’s Environmental Service Award. Supervisor Hahn has been a Sierra Club-endorsed candidate since she served in the United States Congress from 2011-2016, and also while standing for election twice for Los Angeles County Supervisor. Hahn also served 10 years on the Los Angeles City Council before she was elected to Congress.

As a Los Angeles County Supervisor and as a SCAQMD Board Member, Janice Hahn has been a leader in numerous important environmental issues, including removal 0f massive amounts of highly dangerous hydrogen fluoride from two Southern California refineries: — Torrance Refining Company and Valero in Wilmington . In February, 2022, she spearheaded a motion, which passed unanimously, for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to send a five-signature letter to Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta urging them to “take all possible actions to require refineries in California to convert from Modified Hydrofluoric Acid (MHF) to safer alternatives.”

The local Sierra Club, and its members as well, have been an active partner of TRAA in its effort to bring about refineries’ conversion from HF to a vastly safer safer alternative technology.

Read the Sierra Club’s press release on Supervisor Hahn Sierra receiving its Environmental Service Award by clicking here.

Gov. Christine Todd Whitman & 17 Others Urge EPA to Take Strong Steps to Strengthen RMP Rules – Including Requiring HF Refineries to Convert to Safer Alternatives

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has committed to updating its Risk Management Program (RMP) rules and expects to issue a proposed rule by September 2022.

In her April 21, 2022 letter, cosigned by 17 prominent experts, former EPA Administrator and New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman writes to EPA Administrator Michael Regan:

“By enhancing the January 13, 2017, RMP rule, the EPA can simultaneously enhance national security and the protection of workers and communities now in harm’s way. An accident, natural disaster, or deliberate criminal attack could trigger a chemical release that could kill or injure thousands of people and cause billions of dollars of economic damage.”

Christine Todd Whitman
Former EPA administrator & New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman

Specifically, in regard to highly toxic hydrogen fluoride used in chemical refineries like the Torrance refinery and Valero Wilmington in Southern California’s South Bay region, she urges:

“Requiring facilities completing Safer Technology and Alternatives Analyses (STAAs) to implement safer alternatives wherever feasible, especially if they can eliminate catastrophic hazards, like refineries using hydrogen fluoride implementing the Honeywell process adopted by Chevron in its Salt Lake City refinery. This is the only foolproof way to prevent catastrophic releases by any cause.

Read the Full Letter >

TRAA Voter Advisory Panel’s Recommendations for the June 7 Torrance Election

Click Figure for a Full-Size Version
As of 4/26/2022. Note: Other Treasurer & City Clerk candidates were not scored as they never served on City Council and would not affect refinery policy.

The TRAA Voter Advisory Panel submitted the following three questions to the candidates for Torrance Mayor, City Council, and Treasurer in the upcoming election on Tuesday, June 7, 2022:

  1. Do you support the phase out of hydrofluoric acid (HF), including modified hydrofluoric acid, at the two South Bay refineries that use it — Torrance Refining Company and Valero Refinery in Wilmington?
  2. A) If an incumbent: What did you do to further the cause of phasing out HF at either one or both South Bay refineries that use it?
    B) If a candidate: What will you do to further the cause of phasing out HF at either one or both of the South Bay refineries that use it?
  3. When elected, what do you commit to doing to help achieve the goal of phasing out HF at the two South Bay refineries that use it?

The Panel compiled the answers and graded the candidates on how closely they aligned with TRAA’s mission of bringing about the conversion of the two Southern California refineries that use massive amounts of highly dangerous hydrogen fluoride (HF) — Torrance Refining Company and Valero in Wilmington — to a modern, vastly safer process, as a growing number of HF refineries in the nation have successfully done or are currently doing. Candidates who didn’t respond were given an F. The results are displayed in the scorecard above.

Important Voter Resources

Torrance City Council Districts Map
Find which district you live in.

Public Contact Information for the Top-Scoring Candidates
Volunteer to Work for Top-Scoring Candidates

Candidates’ Public Forums
Torrance Mayor & City Treasurer – Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Torrance City Council – Districts 1, 3 & 5 – Thursday, May 5, 2022

Torrance Election Information
Comprehensive Torrance Election Information with more resource links

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi to Headline TRAA’s Monthly Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi is a strong advocate for the conversion of the two South Bay refineries that use massive amounts of highly toxic hydrogen fluoride (HF) to one of the modern, vastly safer, commercially available alternatives.

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi‘s 66th Assembly District, with nearly a half-million population, is located in the South Bay of Los Angeles County. Bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean, it stretches from Manhattan Beach and Gardena in the north to the southern end of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the south. It extends to the Harbor Freeway along much of its eastern border. The District is home to the Torrance Refining Company, and many of its residents are also in the EPA Worst Case Scenario circles of Wilmington’s Valero Refinery. Assemblymember Muratsuchi led an effort to make the Torrance Refinery and other oil refineries safer with his Assembly bills AB 1645, AB 1646, AB 1647, and AB 1649.

Assemblymember
Al Muratsuchi

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