ExxonMobil Refinery Explosion in Torrance, CA Serves as a Warning to Communities Poised to Experience Expansions of Oil Extraction, Processing and Transporting - Waterkeeper

ExxonMobil Refinery Explosion in Torrance, CA Serves as a Warning to Communities Poised to Experience Expansions of Oil Extraction, Processing and Transporting

By: Waterkeeper Alliance

Image: KTLA

LA Waterkeeper urges state and local officials to protect Los Angeles communities from the dangerous threats of oil

February 19, 2015 – New York, NY – Los Angeles Waterkeeper, a Waterkeeper Alliance organization, deployed the organization’s Rapid Response Protocol to respond to the ExxonMobil incident and ensure that no local water bodies have been negatively impacted from the explosion that took place yesterday in Torrance.

“At this point in time, information available indicates that there is no oil spill threat to the local waterways and South Bay,” said Liz Crosson, Executive Director of LA Waterkeeper. “However, incidents like this explosion expose the serious dangers of extracting, refining and transporting oil in our communities.”

Los Angeles County is an area highly impacted by the oil and gas industry, and is vulnerable to oil spills that threaten marine, coastal and freshwater natural resources as well as hundreds of thousands of county residents. In addition to millions of gallons of oil being transported to our shores daily, several local oil companies are proposing to transport crude oil to local refineries and the LA/LB Port through our communities via rail. Recent oil train derailments and fires in communities like Mount Carbon, West Virginia and Lynchburg, Virginia, as well as yesterday’s refinery explosion in Torrance, should inform decision-makers and local communities on how best to respond to new proposals.

Next door to Torrance, in Hermosa Beach, the community will vote March 3rd on whether to allow E & B Natural Resources oil company to slant drill from their community into the Santa Monica Bay for oil. With so many pending proposals for expanded oil extraction and transport in Los Angeles, now is the time for communities to speak up in favor of protecting themselves from the potentially disastrous impacts of oil.

“We are working to raise awareness about these major environmental concerns related to oil spills here in Los Angeles, “ said Crosson. “We also reach out to and work with local agencies and companies to help ensure that all of the right steps are being taken to prevent a spill from happening.”

“The oil industry continues to put our communities at risk,” said Pete Nichols National Director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “The West Coast does not need increased oil processing infrastructure and should not be accepting bomb trains with fracked Bakken crude oil from North Dakota.”

Los Angeles Waterkeeper is currently offering free community courses to residents in the Port Communities of San Pedro and Wilmington to provide a basic understanding of the threats that chronic oil pollution and oil spills present to the local environment. Additionally, participants learn about oil spill response plans and ways to engage in monitoring and clean-up efforts. To learn more, visit: http://lawaterkeeper.org/oil-spill-prevention-response/

The Waterkeeper Alliance Rapid Response Team initiative is an innovative solution that provides trusted and independent emergency response to disasters on our waterways.  In a climate of lax federal regulations and extensive budget cuts to state departments of environmental conservation, the need for Waterkeepers to speak truth about the devastating impacts of water emergencies on communities has never been greater. LA Waterkeeper will continue to monitor the situation in Torrance to ensure that proper clean-up, mitigation and enforcement is completed.

Tina Posterli, Waterkeeper Alliance, 516-526-9371, [email protected]
Rachel Stich, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, 818-636-2033, [email protected]

Founded in 1993, Los Angeles Waterkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore the Santa Monica Bay, San Pedro Bay, and adjacent waters through enforcement, fieldwork, and community action. It works to achieve this goal through litigation and regulatory programs that ensure water quality protections in waterways throughout LA County.

Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting more than 240 Waterkeeper organizations around the world and focusing citizen advocacy in issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. Waterkeepers patrol and protect more than 2 million square miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. For more information please visit: www.waterkeeper.org