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Tar sands coming through Southern California?

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Date: 
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
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From Chapter reports

The Southern California Air Quality Management District is considering a permit application in Wilmington, California, to allow a rail terminal to import for processing 60,000 barrels of diluted bitumen per day from Canada's tar sands. The Valero Energy Corp. is making the request, and Angeles Chapter Sierra Club has signed on to the following letter of protest. And there have been no public comment or disclosures from the SCAQMD on the issue.

Here's the complete letter of protest filed by Tar Sands Action, Southern California, that the Angeles Chapter and other groups have signed on to:

"Dear SCAQMD and Los Angeles City Councilmembers,

Please consider the following request as signed and supported by over ## community, health, environmental and social justice organizations/businesses in the Southern California area that share concerns over Valero Energy Corp’s proposal to ship and process Canadian Tar Sands in Wilmington, California.

Los Angeles communities experience higher rates of asthma, because we breathe some of the most polluted air in the country. Valero’s oil refinery in Wilmington is one of our biggest polluters. Any proposed changes to the refinery that could significantly increase pollution in our communities should be evaluated carefully through an open process that encourages public participation.

We are concerned to learn that the SCAQMD is considering a permit application, without public comment or disclosure, for the construction of a rail terminal that will allow Valero to import for processing 60,000 barrels of diluted bitumen (dilbit) per day from Canada’s tar sands.

Moving more than 76% of the refinery’s inputs from conventional crude to diluted bitumen could significantly increase air pollution in communities downwind of the refinery. Many studies have found that refining diluted bitumen releases into the air greater concentrations of sulphur dioxide, various heavy metals, and other harmful pollutants.

Diluted bitumen is also more corrosive than conventional crude oil. Significantly increasing supplies into the refinery could make corrosion-related accidents more likely and pose a unique set of pollution and safety related risks to both local communities and refinery workers.

The Air District has the authority to conduct a public comment period on permits that could result in significantly higher levels of air pollution. Because replacing significant volumes of conventional crude oil inputs into the refinery with diluted bitumen could result in significantly higher levels of air pollution, we encourage the district to do the following:

  • Conduct an open and transparent evaluation process, including accepting public comment on the proposed crude-by-rail facility,

  • Increase public participation by widely publicizing the public comment period, and

  • Release all relevant information related to the project for public review.

The organizations who have signed this letter believe that the above proposed project by Valero at the Wilmington refinery will result in significant impacts to our communities and environment. We also request that the City of Los Angeles engage in a transparent process, choose SCAQMD as the lead agency on the above project, and accelerate the process for doing a publicly transparent California CEQA analysis.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jack Eidt
Organizer, Tar Sands Action, Southern California Director, Wild Heritage Planners
P.O. Box 50260
Los Angeles, CA 90050

 

15 comments

Please do not allow Canadian Tar Sands oil to be processed in Southern California. Thanks

California has a serious problem with air quality and we need to address that problem without adding more environmental pollution.

We have worked so hard to stop LADWP from using Coal now they want Tar Sands. I say NO!

We do nnot need the pollution. The product is solely for export and the decrease in production for local use will drive prices up. The Keystone XL pipiline is expected to result in a forty cent increase in b gas prices in the Midwest. Oil spills are almost impossible to clean up. This project is bad for our environment and bad for our economy.

I agree that a public review and hearing is necessary.

I do not agree with the announced position of the Sierra Club on the Valero Corporation's application. The Club's announced position seems to be "there could be more air pollution." Personally, I'm much more supportive of lower gas prices, jobs, and economic expansion than "could."

Where do you get your information from? Let me guess - FAUX News Corp? You've obviously drunk their koolaid, hook, line, and sinker. Why is the mantra so oft repeated that respecting our right to clean air and clean water kills jobs. The right wing political machine is the job killer of the century - just look at a timeline of unemployment and overall prosperity of the middle class vs. the party in charge. The hidden costs of pollution far outweigh increased profits for billionaire oil men and the few dirty jobs they may choose to bless us with.

The air quality is truly at it's worst in the LA Port area already, especially at night when they are allowed to ramp up their output, outputting more particulates that I breath each and every day. Traveling along Anaheim Ave, the toxic fumes are already overwhelming. I don't like tar sands and what they do the health of our country in the name of big profits for oil companies.

Do NOT allow this rail terminal to be built. It WILL cause many problems with people, animals and emergency regulators and responders. The most filthy of all oil type products and Valero Energy is not even an American company. Why would we put our children at risk for private industry profits?

Los Angeles communities experience higher rates of asthma, because we breathe some of the most polluted air in the country. Valero’s oil refinery in Wilmington is one of our biggest polluters. Any proposed changes to the refinery that could significantly increase pollution in our communities should be evaluated carefully through an open process that encourages public participation.

keep you tar sans in your own yars

I am a life long resident of Long Beach California and Wilmington is a sister city within 5 miles of my residence. Long Beach, Wilmington and San Pedro have been plagued by all the oil refineries and their pollution for a lifetime, all of my life time and I am 70 years old. The rates of asthma, COPD chronic Bronchitis and other lung diseases are way beyond the norm! Allergies in adults and children here are THE NORM! We have long been the victims of all this pollution and now you want to bring the dirtiest of all possible pollutants to further damage our cities, children and all residents. We have had enough of the oil companies and your greed at our expense. Stop this horrendous project before it starts. It is in your power to say NO TO TAR SAND OIL in Wilmington California !! Have mercy on the citizens of the South Bay, of Los Angeles County! Cathy Castro

Friends - Making tar sands more viable is an environmental disaster for the Wilmington area, and the world. The CO2 levels are already to high; the refining process for bitumen is CO2 intensive, and will hasten global warming. I urge you to make the permit process transparent, and publicized. Thank you.

I am particularly concerned about the non-publicized nature of this process, which would seemingly avoid the education of the public about application for the permit and a chance to reflect and present a petition on this fealth- and safety-related endeavor.
It seems to backtrack from Californiz;s highly-regarded global status as an open, progressive environment, and I would like to know what pressures have been placed on officials to circumvent the public?

Just what we don't need. A rail car derailment in the Tejon Pass with a shipment of tar sands oil. SCAQMD needs to allow public comment on this and come to the conclusion that this is just another attempt by Canadians (and Valero) to cash in on the export of tar sands oil. While it is unlikely that exploitation of the tar sands can be stopped, it hasn't been easy for Canadian oil exploiters to ship this over the Western Canadian Rockies (First Tribe nations oppose the construction of a pipeline). Still, it already is being shipped by rail. I believe by now there have been at least 3 major spillages. Who needs more? And, who needs them in SoCal.

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