A Walk to Heal, A Walk to Reimagine

[The next walk is on June 20th – join us! http://www.refineryhealingwalks.com/]


Honoring the Water

The walk started with a morning water ceremony in Martinez Waterfront Park. Pennie Opal Plant and Isabella Zizi, healing walk organizers, walked down the rocks to collect water from the adjacent bay for the ceremony. Martinez is home to two large refineries belonging to Shell and Tesoro, which are close to residential neighborhoods. (All Photos Rucha Chitnis)


“There are toxic places by the San Francisco Bay. We walk to understand what some frontline communities experience everyday living next to the oil refineries,” says Pennie Opal Plant of Yaqui, Choctaw and Cherokee ancestry, one of the organizers of the Refinery Corridor Healing Walks.

“We want to imagine our future beyond fossil fuels to have clean water, air, soil and healthy jobs,” she says. The Refinery Corridor Healing Walks are inspired by the long tradition of healing walks —such as the Tar Sands healings walks in Alberta that raise awareness on the impact of Canadian oil sands on First Nation communities. There are five refineries east of the San Francisco Bay Area. The healing walks hope to bring attention to the environmental and health risks posed by the refineriea_walk_to_heal_a_walk_to_reimagine3_-_rucha_chitniss, including threats from derailment of crude by rail

In the past six years or so, crude by rail has increased by 4,000 percent across the United States. Local community members are concerned that crude by rail could start in the Valero refinery in Benicia, a historic town, which used to serve as California state capital. Two years ago, 2013, we witnessed an unprecedented number of crude spills from train derailments in North America, including one that killed 47 people in a town in Quebec. Because of this fatal explosion and others crude by rail is often referred to as bomb trains.

“Why healing walks? Because Mother Earth needs to heal. We continue to poison our waters with fracking. Where does this water go? Into our wells and streams,” says Wounded Knee DeOcampo, a Coastal Miwok Native elder with Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes. The healing walk members have planned four walks each year for four years. The walks are led by Native American elders in prayer, followed by community ma_walk_to_heal_a_walk_to_reimagine2_-_rucha_chitnisembers and environmental advocates in contemplation and dialogue. The walks begin with a water ceremony and song led by Native American elders, followed by a march along the refineries, neighborhoods, rail tracks and other toxic sites dotting the bay. In each of the walks, local community members share their hopes for healthy environment, jobs and transition to a just economy. The next walk is on June 20, which will traverse through Benicia to Rodeo – home to Conoco-Phillips refinery.

“Climate change is here, and nobody is going to save us. It’s up to us to transition to a safe energy future,” says Opal Plant. “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/gallery/photo/walk-heal-walk-reimagine-160583a_walk_to_heal_a_walk_to_reimagine15_-_rucha_chitnis

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ShellNo! protestors are locked down at the Port of Seattle and need your support!


shell noBREAKING: ShellNo! protestors are locked down at the Port of Seattle right now and need your support!

Early this morning activists set up and deployed a range of technical blockades outside entrances to the port using U-locks, chains, lockboxes, rocking chairs, and other devices. Every entrance of the port was shut down, effectively stopping work on the rig. To sustain this bold action, we need YOU! Come on down and join us right now for an inspiring blockade. Bring your camera, musical instruments, banners, and passion for justice.

LOCATION: Terminal 5, West Seattle (W. Marginal Way and Spokane Street,
Spokane Street Bridge)

As we all know, time is of the essence when it comes to stopping the Polar
Polluter and its evil twin, the Noble Destroyer.

“Shell only has until the end of June to make it up to the Arctic in time to drill this summer. We want to stop them from leaving,” said Blaine Doherty, who is sitting in the road chained to another Seattle resident. “The Port of Seattle has let us down and President Obama has let us down. We can’t afford to let Shell drill in the Arctic if we want this planet to remain habitable.”

After May’s Festival of Resistance, organized by the Shell No! Action Council, another autonomous group called Stop Shell Seattle has called for a month of actions using the tag “June Against Doom”. There have been pickets at the Port for the past 5 days. The goal is to disrupt work on the rig in order to delay its move out of Seattle.

shirly 2The Seattle Raging Grannies chained themselves to rocking chairs for today’s action. “My generation is responsible for how things are today. This rig will destroy any hope of a liveable future for our children and grandchildren,” said Annette Klapstein. “It’s our duty to be out here.”

The groups locked down also highlighted how climate change is already affecting vulnerable communities around the world, such as the recent heatwave in India that has so far resulted in over 2,000 deaths. “The people most impacted by Arctic drilling, and the 2 degrees Celsius warming it will bring, are indigenous people around the world, poor people, and people of the global South,” said Zarna Joshi, one of the Seattle residents who locked down. “When it’s 122 degrees and you’re poor there’s nowhere to hide. The fossil fuel industry’s drive for profit is literally killing people. We’re here to take a stand against these climate-destroying corporations and the governments who support them.”

You can support today’s action with your physical and online presence! Join us at the port and follow our updates via Facebook and Twitter. Donate to our fundraising campaign to support us in paying legal fees. Tell everyone you know and spread the word: Seattle says SHELL NO!

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Saturday June 20 Benicia to Rodeo



We will begin at Ninth Street Park in Benicia

All are welcome! Join us!

8:00 a.m. Water Ceremony & Registration
9:30 a.m. Walk Begins
There are several places along the walk where folks can join the walk – please see the details of the route below.

The walk will end at Lone Street Park in Rodeo

Please feel free to join us for the prayers for the water at 8:00 a.m.   Feel free to bring a small bottle of water from your area to join the waters in the Rodeo.

Registration for the walk will begin at 8:00 a.m.  Walkers will be asked to agree to the Nonviolent Principles.  For details on what to bring/not bring, please go to “What To Expect” in the tabs above.

This walk is approximately 14 miles from beginning to end.  There will be vehicles available for people who wish to take breaks during the walk.  Medics will also be available.   Water will be provided – Please bring your own refillable water bottle.

Everyone will be taken back to their vehicles at the end of the walk.  If you are coming to the walk with friends and have two vehicles, please consider leaving one vehicle at the end. 

Need a ride from BART?  Please post your request on the Facebook Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/432961726863117/

CARPOOL? CLICK HERE:  http://www.groupcarpool.com/t/pfm5ge

Let us know you’re coming!  RSVP BELOW!

TRACK OUR LOCATION LIVE beginning Saturday at 9:30 AM: CLICK HERE

Make sure you keep this phone number with you on the walk:

We will begin in Benicia, home to the Valero Refinery, and proceed through Vallejo.  Crossing the Carquinez Bridge is always a treat!  Then we head toward the Conoco Phillips 66 Refinery in Rodeo , ending at Lone Tree Park.

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Oil Trains Don’t Have to Derail or Explode to Be Hazardous, Doctors Warn


Tuesday, 09 June 2015    By Dahr Jamail, Truthout

In May, hundreds of doctors, nurses and health-care professionals from Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) called on Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to take a stronger position against proposed oil-by-rail shipping terminals in their respective states, in order to insure the health and physical security of families and communities there.

Washington PSR describes itself as a group that promotes “peace and health for the human community and the global ecosystem by empowering members, citizens and policy makers to develop and model for the rest of the nation socially just and life-enhancing policies regarding nuclear issues, climate change, environmental toxins, vulnerable populations and other risks to human health.”

The group has sounded the alarm over what it sees as a direct health threat to the country stemming from the oil-by-rail system.

To see more stories like this, visit “Planet or Profit?”

“We are dealing with a product [oil] that is harmful to human health at every single step along the process of extracting, transporting, storing and using it,” said Dr. Mark Vossler, a cardiologist and chairman of the Department of Medicine at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, Washington.

“The known risks associated with oil-by-rail transport pose an unacceptable threat to human health and safety.”

Vossler, who is also one of the lead authors of the Washington PSR/Oregon PSR position statement on crude oil transport and storage, and volunteers his time with WPSR’s climate change task force, added, “The health risks of water fouled by fracking, of exploding trains and storage tanks, of oil spills at sea and the dispersants used in the clean up, and of the everyday relentless actual use of the product in terms of a continuing rising carbon dioxide content in our atmosphere should be completely unacceptable.”

Fortunately for PSR and the general public, Senate Democrats in Washington State are already pushing for tougher federal safety rules for oil trains.

Oil companies have proposed dramatic increases in oil-by-rail transport and storage in Washington and Oregon, with the aim of increasing ocean shipments from regional ports there.

PSR says that although just three years ago there was no oil-by-rail movement in Washington, dramatic increases in oil extraction from the Bakken fields in North Dakota and Montana, as well as from the Canadian tar sands, have generated significant increases in oil-by-rail traffic. In a recently released position paper, PSRwarns of a number of health impacts, including increased rates in cancer, asthma and cardiovascular disease, among dozens of others.

“If current proposals are allowed to proceed, the volume of oil-by-rail coming into Washington would increase from the current 19 trains per week to as many as 137 trains per week, each about 1.5 miles long,” PSR’s position statement reads. “Each would carry approximately 2.9 million gallons of volatile crude to be stored, in some cases refined, and then exported to other states. This is a larger daily volume than would flow through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.”

PSR has conducted a thorough review of health data published in peer-reviewed medical journals, and its warning is stark.

“The known risks associated with oil-by-rail transport, oil tank storage, and oil export by vessel pose an unacceptable threat to human health and safety,” the group said.

Continue reading

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Jerry Brown’s head oil regulator resigns after RICO suit filed

by Dan Bacher
Saturday Jun 6th, 2015


Mark Schlosberg, organizing director with Food and Water Watch, a member organization of Californians Against Fracking, responded to the resignation by pointing out that it points to the larger failure by the Brown administration to protect California’s water and air.

“When it comes to ensuring the public’s health and protecting our water and air, Jerry Brown has failed,” said Schlosberg. “Mark Nechodom is one of many in the Brown Administration who have looked the other way as oil companies inject poison into underground drinking water, spill oil onto our beaches and spew methane into the air.”

Photo of oil waste injection courtesy of DOGGR.



by Dan Bacher

Mark Nechodom, the controversial director of the California Department of Conservation, the agency that oversees the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), resigned on Thursday, June 4.

DOGGR is the agency charged with regulating the state’s oil and gas industry. Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 appointed Nechodom, who is considered very friendly to the oil industry, to the post in order to expedite permits for oil drilling in Kern County and elsewhere.

The agency has faced increasing scrutiny from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after permitting oil companies conducting steam injection and fracking operations to drill thousands of oilfield wastewater disposal wells into protected aquifers.

The Committee to Protect Agricultural Water, a citizen organization comprised of Central Valley farmers and “individuals concerned about California’s drinking water,” filed a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) complaint in Federal Court on June 3, the day before Nechodom resigned.

The RICO Complaint claims that Governor Jerry Brown’s office ordered the DOGGR to approve permits to inject contaminated water in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. (http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2015/06/03/741916/10137097/en/Kern-County-Group-Files-RICO-Lawsuit-Against-Governor-and-Oil-Companies.html#sthash.9gqriFwS.dpuf_)

The lawsuit alleges that “The Oil Companies, Governor’s Office, Director of Conservation Mark Nechodom, State Oil & Gas Supervisor Tim Kustic, Director of the Kern County Planning and Development Department Lorelei Oviatt, DOGGR, WSPA, CIPA, and others known and unknown, formed an “enterprise” (“the Enterprise”) to achieve through illegal means the goal of increasing oil production and maximizing profits and tax revenue by allowing the Oil Companies to inject salt water into fresh water in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

That’s not the only suit filed challenging the agency’s “permits to pollute.” A lawsuit filed on May 7 by Earthjustice in Alameda County Superior Court, on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club, challenged recently unveiled “underground injection control” regulations from DOGGR. Continue reading

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The People vs. Shell

Monday, 08 June 2015 00:00

By Emily Johnston, Truthout | Op-Ed


This week, if all goes well, I will probably commit a crime.

I don’t say this lightly, not at all: My mother is 88 years old, and though I expect her to live a good while longer, every day is a gift at 88, and I would always regret time I couldn’t spend with her if I were to go to prison. I also have a dog I’m deeply attached to, not to mention a whole life: not just loved ones (who could visit), but runs and walks and open windows; trees and birds; darkness and quiet and solitude; good coffee and homemade bread; dinners and poetry readings and the pleasure of building things with my hands.

I may not go to prison, of course – I fervently hope I won’t – but I know, too, that I may. I’m willing to take the chance, because the alternative is to let disaster unfold – for countless people, for other animals and for whole ecosystems. Given the scope of the threat, and given that we live in the country that is most responsible for it, sitting on the sidelines does not feel to me like a moral possibility.

Apart from walking my very mannerly and older dog off-leash around the neighborhood, I’m about as law-abiding as a person can reasonably be. But my respect for the laws of physics, in truth, has turned into a terror; I know that we have to heed them now to avoid disaster. If you’ve been following the science, you know what I mean; we are right at the edge of several tipping points, any one of which may bring harrowing, unmitigated disaster. Together they are unthinkable. If we keep on precisely as we are for even a few more years, we will likely have lost the chance to avoid a terrible future.

For years, I have used earnest, legal methods. They were inadequate to the task. Far better people than I am have used them for decades, to better, but still inadequate, effect.

Scientists told us in January that we can’t drill any Arctic oil if we want even a 50 percent chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change. Shell just kept coming.

Continue reading

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Santa Barbara disaster inevitable with Big Oil’s capture of regulatory apparatus

by Dan Bacher
Wednesday May 27th, 2015 8:51 AM
Oil on the beach at Refugio State Park in Santa Barbara, California, on May 19, 2015. (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard)

Oil on the beach at Refugio State Park in Santa Barbara, California, on May 19, 2015. (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard)

The same region devastated by the Santa Barbara Oil Spill of 1969 is now the scene of a massive clean up of crude oil by the state and federal governments and volunteers. The international and national media have spread throughout the world the startling images of the oil soaked beaches, birds, fish and ecosystem in a deluge of TV, radio, newspaper and internet reports.

The oil spill resulted from the rupture of an oil pipeline owned by Plains Pipeline, a subsidiary of Plains All-American Pipeline, near Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday, May 19. A 24-inch wide, 11-mile long section carrying oil from offshore platforms and an Exxon Mobil processing plant onshore leaked as much as 105,000 gallons of crude oil. An estimated 21,000 gallons made into the ocean, devastating nine miles of coastal waters and beaches.

The oil spill that began off Refugio State Beach was inevitable, when you consider the capture of the regulatory apparatus by the oil industry in California. Until people challenge the power of Big Oil in California and the industry’s control over the state and federal regulatory agencies, we will see more of the Refugio-type of oil spill disasters in the future.

During the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative process from 2004 to 2012, state officials and corporate “environmental” NGOs made sure that Big Oil and other corporate polluters weren’t impacted by the creation of alleged “marine protected areas” along the California coast. The MLPA Initiative, a controversial “public-private partnership” between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation (RLFF), was supposed to create a network of “marine protected areas” along the California coast.

In an article published widely in June 2010, I warned that the “marine protected areas” created under the MLPA Initiative don’t protect the ocean from oil spills and pollution. (http://yubanet.com/california/MLPA-Initiative-will-do-nothing-to-stop-a-big-oil-spill-off-California.php)

“These marine protected areas, as currently designed, don’t protect against oil spills,” said Sara Randall, then the program director of the Institute for Fishery Resources and Commercial Fishermen of America. “What’s the point of developing marine protected areas if they don’t protect the resources?”

MLPA Initiative advocates claimed that other state and federal laws and administrative actions “protect” the ocean from oil spills and new offshore oil drilling, so there was no need for specific bans or restrictions on oil industry activities in and near “marine protected areas.”

In violation of the provisions of the landmark Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) of 1999, the “marine protected areas” failed to protect the ocean from oil spills, oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

Of course, MLPA Initiative advocates neglected to address why Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association in Sacramento, was allowed to CHAIR the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast and to sit on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast, as well as on a NOAA federal marine protected areas panel. (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mpa/brtf_bios_sc.asp)

They dismissed any questioning of why a Big Oil lobbyist was allowed to oversee “marine protection” in California as “wild conspiracy theories.”

To make matters even worse, the WSPA President’s husband, James Boyd, served on the California Energy Commission from 2002 to 2012. From 2007 to 2012, he served as the Commission’s Vice Chair, the second most powerful position on the Commission! (http://www.energy.ca.gov/commissioners/boyd.html)

However, as we can see from the current oil spill disaster off the coast of Santa Barbara, the state and federal regulatory agencies and the MLPA Initiative’s so-called “marine protected areas” weren’t able to prevent a big oil spill like the one now taking place from occurring – and the fishermen, Tribal members and grassroots environmentalists who criticized oil industry lobbyist oversight of the MLPA Initiative process were absolutely right about their fears that the new “Yosemites of the Sea” wouldn’t protect the ocean.

Ironically, the region impacted by the spill includes three “marine protected areas” created by the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force under the helm of the Western States Petroleum Association President – the Campus Point, Naples and Kashtayit State Marine Conservation Areas – along with the Refugio State Marine Conservation Area.

This disaster could have been averted if the pipeline had an automatic shut-off valve, but it didn’t, according to a Santa Barbara County official. Now you will see the federal and state regulatory agencies pointing fingers at each other as to who is to “blame” for the spill when it is the entire regulatory apparatus, now captured by Big Oil, that is really responsible for the spill.

To make matters worse, these same agencies, ranging from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the federal agency that permits offshore drilling, to the California Coastal Commission, failed to stop oil companies from fracking the ocean off California over 200 times over the past 20 years.

Record of pipeline owner marred by 175 incidents since 2006

Now we find out that company that owns the pipeline involved in Tuesday’s major oil spill in Santa Barbara has had 175 incidents (mostly oil spills) nationwide since 2006, including 11 in California, according to a Center for Biological Diversity analysis of federal documents! (http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2015/santa-barbara-oil–spill-05-21-2015.html)

It gets worse. Plains Pipeline has also had federal enforcement actions initiated against it 20 times since 2006 for its operations across the country, according to data from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Many of those cases involve corrosion control and maintenance problems on its pipelines, including two cases in 2009 for which the company was fined $115,600, the Center noted.

“This company’s disturbing record highlights oil production’s toxic threat to California’s coast,” said Miyoko Sakashita, the Center’s oceans program director. “Oil pipelines and offshore fracking and drilling endanger our fragile marine ecosystems. Every new oil project increases the risk of fouled beaches and oil-soaked sea life.”

According to Sakashita, the broken pipeline was 28 years old and operated by a company that has been repeatedly warned by government regulators to improve its procedures and control corrosion for its pipelines. Plains Pipeline had five incidents in California in 2014 alone, including the one that dumped oil into a Los Angeles neighborhood a year ago.

“Hundreds of miles of oil pipelines run through California’s coastal areas, posing a serious threat of spills,” warned Sakashita. “A review released by the Center for Biological Diversity of federal data over the past 30 years shows that such oil spills from pipelines are a common and costly byproduct of oil production that has been rapidly increasing in the United States, including offshore.”

An analysis of federal pipeline data commissioned by the Center last year showed there have been nearly 8,000 serious pipeline breaks nationwide since 1986, causing more than 2,300 injuries and nearly $7 billion in property damage.

The vast majority of those incidents have involved oil pipelines, spilling more than 2 million barrels into waterways and on the ground. More than 35 percent of these incidents have been caused by corrosion or other spontaneous structural failures, according to the Center.

The Santa Barbara Channel is rich in biodiversity, featuring whales, dolphins and more than 500 species of fish, including lingcod, white seabass, calico and sand bass, sheephead, ocean whitefish, yellowtail and dozens of species of rockfish. Endangered blue whales often feed in the forage in the channel, also migration path for four other whales listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Sakashita reminded people that the Santa Barbara County coastline was the site of an oil platform explosion in 1969 that spilled up to 100,000 barrels of oil. That oil spill, with its massive devastation of fish, wildlife and the ocean ecosystem, served as the impetus for the creation of the modern environmental movement and Earth Day.

“If we’re learned anything over the past 50 years, it’s that coastal oil production remains inherently dangerous to wildlife, local communities and health of the planet,” she said. “To protect our coast, we need to stop offshore drilling and fracking and quickly transition to cleaner energy sources.”

Oil industry is most powerful corporate lobby in California

Oil spills like the latest one off Santa Barbara are inevitable as long as Big Oil is able to exert as much power and influence as it does now in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. The oil industry is the largest and most powerful corporate lobby in California, with the Western States Petroleum Association alone spending $8.9 million on lobbying in 2014, nearly double what it spent the previous year.

The oil industry has spent over $70 million on lobbyists in California since January 2009, according to a 2014 report written by Will Barrett, the Senior Policy Analyst for the American Lung Association in California. The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) topped the oil industry spending with a total of $31,179,039 spent on lobbying since January 1, 2009 at the time of Barrett’s report. Chevron was second in lobbying expenses with a total of $15,542,565 spent during the same period. (http://www.lung.org/associations/states/california/advocacy/climate-change/oil-industy-lobbying-report.pdf)

From July 1 to September 30 alone, the oil industry spent an unprecedented $7.1 million lobbying elected officials in California “with a major focus on getting oil companies out of a major clean air regulation,” said Barrett.

Big Oil also exerts its power and influence by spending many millions of dollars every election season on candidates and ballot measures. The oil industry dumped $7.6 million into defeating a measure calling for a fracking ban in Santa Barbara County; yes the same county where the oil spill is now devastating the ecosystem.

Not only does Big Oil spend millions every year on lobbying and campaign contributions, but it funds “Astroturf” campaigns to eviscerate environmental laws. And as we have seen in the case of Catherine Reheis-Boyd and her husband, James Boyd, oil and chemical industry representatives further exert their power and influence by serving on state and federal regulatory panels.

The millions Chevron and other oil companies have spent on lobbying, campaign contributions and setting up “Astroturf” groups promoting the oil industry agenda are just chump change to Big Oil. The five big oil companies – BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, Exxon Mobil and Shell – made $16.4 billion in the last quarter of 2014 and $89.7 billion for the entire year, according to the Center for American Progress. This was done in spite of “sliding” oil prices.

Yet both the mainstream media and the “alternative” media articles that I have read to date have failed in their coverage of the Santa Barbara Oil Spill over the past week, since they have neglected their duty to expose the reason behind the spill – the capture of the regulatory apparatus by Big Oil, a huge environmental scandal that I have exposed in article, after article, after article.

To read my investigative piece on oil industry money and power in California in the East Bay Express, go to: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2015/02/06/big-oil-group-spent-89-million-last-year-lobbing-jerry-brown-and-california-officials

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Protest at the Chevron Shareholders Meeting in San Ramon!

chevron shareholder flyer

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use me shell 2w oiluse me shell 1w oil

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No injuries reported after flare at Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo

By Natalie Neysa Alund    Bay Area News Group    POSTED:   05/19/2015 10:56:24 AM PDT


p666 flaring

RODEO — No one was injured when a processing unit at the Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo flared late Monday producing a bright flare in Contra Costa County, refinery officials announced Tuesday.

The flare occurred at 10:15 p.m. when one of the refinery’s processing units experienced a process interruption, according to refinery officials.

The refinery remained operational Tuesday and Phillips 66 officials said they would conduct an investigation to determine what caused the flare. As of mid-Tuesday morning, the flare was still going as the refinery continued to burn off excess material, officials said, but it less visible in daylight.

After the flare, Contra Costa County issued a Level 1 community warning for the incident, the lowest possible alert level.

While oil company officials say flaring is a normal part of refinery operations and happens less frequently than it did decades ago, large flares continue to draw attention.

An August 2012 blaze at the Chevron refinery in Richmond sparked a federal investigation and sent thousands of residents to area hospitals.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.

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