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CA approves new refinery safety rules 5 years after Chevron fire

California regulators on Thursday approved new safety rules for oil refineries, nearly five years after a major fire at Chevron’s Richmond facility sent thousands of East Bay residents to local hospitals. The regulations are designed to anticipate potential problems and prevent accidents that could harm refinery workers and surrounding communities. Six refinery employees suffered minor injuries from the fire, while an estimated 15,000 area residents went to local hospitals complaining of respiratory problems. “This new regulation will ensure California's oil refineries are operated with the highest levels of safety possible and with injury and illness prevention in mind,” Baker said in a press release. The Chevron Richmond fire, caused by a crack in a corroded pipe that drew diesel away from the refinery’s crude-oil processing unit, led Gov. Jerry Brown to convene a task force on refinery safety. “Richmond could have been much worse — a lot of people could have died — and we took the lessons from that fire to heart in fighting for these new rules,” said Mike Smith, an employee at the Chevron Richmond refinery and staff representative of United Steelworkers Local 5.

Article by By David R. Baker (c) Business and Technology News - Read full story here.