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Big Oil and citizenship
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still waiting for a response from the oil company insiders. Perhaps they will break their silence and explain the similar lawsuit now filed against Shell? But those who have breathed deeply into paper bags (of money) are convinced that we need to cut regulations for these companies--and resist regulations for the financial gambling that caused the meltdown? I guess we need to focus on their charitable donations--not the fact that they pay a lower percentage of taxes than I do.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More good news about the corporate responsibility ethos of the oil industry. I expect that the apologists will remain silent and hope the story fades away. But the role of the unions in blowing the whistle on the risky practices of Chevron management helps explain the antipathy of the knuckle-draggers to unions, or anyone that would shine a light on their irresponsible practices.

Chevron ignored risk in '11, workers say

Jaxon Van Derbeken

Published 10:55 p.m., Saturday, October 13, 2012

Unchecked corrosion, the suspected culprit in the August blaze that destroyed part of Chevron's Richmond refinery, was responsible for another fire at the plant last year that prompted workers to complain to regulators that the company was ignoring the problem, according to state inspection documents obtained by The Chronicle.

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health inspector who investigated the smaller October 2011 fire - which occurred during a scheduled maintenance shutdown and was quickly extinguished - documented allegations from two workers that corrosion was attacking the refinery and that employees could be at risk.

"We're afraid something is going to fall through the cracks," one worker told Cal/OSHA safety inspector Carla Fritz, who was investigating the fire in furnace piping at the refinery's lube oil processing plant. His comments are documented in notes Fritz took during her two-day plant visit in November.

Equipment wear

"We're concerned about increased corrosion - we've increased temperatures and increased rates, and it takes a toll on the equipment," said the worker, who was identified in Fritz's notes as head operator of the lube oil plant - the most senior of a 20-member operator crew.

The Chronicle obtained Fritz's notes under the state Public Records Act. State officials redacted the names of Chevron employees she interviewed.

Company managers told Fritz that although the corrosion that led to last October's fire was unexpected, nothing they found after that was out of the ordinary.

Asked by The Chronicle whether the earlier corrosion-related fire should have prompted checks throughout its refinery, Chevron did not respond directly but said in a statement that it had taken "the appropriate actions to protect the safety of its employees and facilities."

August fire

Chevron said last month that corrosion caused by high-temperature, high-sulfur oil was the likely cause of a pipe rupture that led to a major fire in the crude-processing unit Aug. 6, which knocked part of the Richmond refinery offline and significantly reduced its capacity at least until the end of the year. More than 15,000 people downwind of the blaze went to hospitals, complaining of respiratory and other problems caused by the smoke.

The company has conceded it neglected to inspect the failed 5-foot section of line for corrosion when it conducted the scheduled maintenance shutdown in October and November 2011. Federal investigators from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board discovered after the fire that corrosion had eroded 80 percent of the carbon-steel pipe wall's thickness, well above the level at which Chevron's policies called for replacement.

California worker-safety regulators say they have expanded their investigation of the August fire beyond the crude-processing unit to probe how Chevron has been handling pipeline leaks elsewhere at the Richmond plant and at the company's refinery in El Segundo (Los Angeles County).

Federal investigators said they are examining whether the earlier Richmond fire, combined with the August blaze, signaled a pattern of problems at Chevron's refinery.

Worker's complaint

The issue of corrosion from higher-sulfur oil attacking carbon steel pipe came up during the probe of the first fire on Oct. 3, 2011.

Fritz's visit was prompted by a complaint that an unidentified refinery worker had filed with Cal/OSHA, saying there were "unsafe working conditions" in the lube oil plant because of severe corrosion. The worker cited the October fire as evidence. Fritz declined to be interviewed for this story, referring questions to agency public affairs officials.

Fritz's notes show that the Richmond refinery's maintenance manager and managers on the plant's safety team acknowledged that corrosion had caused the rupture of a carbon steel pipe and the ensuing fire. The maintenance manager told her, according to her notes, that the corrosion - which occurred at an elbow of the furnace's piping - was unexpected.

Same material

The elbow was installed in 1983 and linked two pieces of more corrosion-resistant pipe. It was made of the same pipeline material that failed in August and that Chevron now says is susceptible to sulfur-induced corrosion if it is low in silicon.

Fritz's report does not address the silicon issue. But Cal/OSHA said in a statement to The Chronicle that the pipe "was made of the wrong type of metal for the type of corrosive crude oil flowing through it, creating a risk of fire and breakdown."

One Chevron inspector told Fritz that he did not believe the 2011 fire "suggested a larger problem" with corrosion at the refinery.

The lube oil plant's operations assistant, another manager who oversees operations at the unit, told Fritz the corrosion that Chevron found elsewhere in the plant during the maintenance shutdown was "pretty routine."

But the lube oil unit's head operator - one of two workers who expressed concern about the corrosion - said higher-sulfur oil that Chevron was processing was wearing away pipes throughout the unit.

"Some of the engineers were surprised at the corrosion," he told Fritz, according to her notes. He also complained that safety checks during the October-November maintenance shutdown were being cut short.

"People are saying they're complete, and they're not," he said, according to her notes.

Workers 'ignored'

The head operator also worried that Chevron's shutdown coordinator was making last-minute decisions about whether to restart the lube oil unit or delay the process for further inspections or repairs.

"We're afraid something is going to fall through the cracks when you've got one person, who's being pressured to get the plant up," making critical safety decisions at the end of the process, the head operator said.

The shutdown coordinator, also interviewed by Fritz, said that although Chevron inspectors had caught most of the corrosion during the maintenance shutdown, they had missed corrosion in at least one spot, inside a distillation column. That corrosion was caught by outside contractors shortly before the unit was to have been given the go-ahead to restart.

Another worker, identified only as an operator, told Fritz he was concerned that management was not doing more inspections in light of the fact that "lots of corrosion" had been found.

"My primary concern is we (get) ignored. We operate these plants, we walk by this equipment every day," the worker said.

In the end, after reviewing Chevron documents about its corrosion inspection process, Fritz issued no violation notices and allowed the company to restart the lube oil unit on schedule.

Two months later, her notes show, she called a meeting with Chevron officials to convey the workers' concerns that they "get ignored." The refinery officials assured her that they would do more inspections for corrosion while the plant was in operation.

Cal/OSHA said in a statement that Fritz had not issued a violation notice to Chevron over the 2011 fire "because the problem alleged and potential hazard had been already identified and corrected."

It said Chevron had a larger obligation, though.

"Armed with knowledge of improper metals used in processing a corrosive product in one part of the refinery," Chevron "was responsible for investigating other metals used in processing corrosive products throughout the refinery to assure their safety," the agency said.

Chevron's response

In response to questions about corrosion and last October's fire, Chevron said it "took the appropriate actions to protect the safety of its employees and facilities" after the blaze. "We immediately responded, shut down the affected operations, evacuated all nonessential staff and successfully contained the incident."

Officials with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said federal rules requiring refineries to routinely inspect equipment are designed to prevent the kind of fires that occurred at Chevron.

The board's managing director, Daniel Horowitz, said federal investigators are scrutinizing last October's fire for similarities to the larger Aug. 6 blaze.

"We are particularly interested in prior refinery incidents that involve running process equipment to the point of failure," Horowitz said, adding that other probes "almost invariably have revealed that major chemical process accidents are preceded by numerous smaller warning signs."

Jaxon Van Derbeken is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strange silence from the apologists/pimps for the oil industry. More news on EXXON'S stewardship ethic for environmental values:

(Reuters) - The Department of Transportation has fined Exxon Mobil Corp $1.7 million over pipeline safety violations relating to a 2011 oil spill in the Yellowstone River, regulators have said. ...
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am very happy that big oil provides me with cheap energy. I love this lifestyle.

However, only $1.7 million for polluting a river? Seems very low to me. It should hurt when NEGLIGENCE plays a part in any environmental disaster. What I complain about is the burden it has put on me. I've paid tens of thousands of dollars over the past 2 years for meaningless regulation. That has run small business away. THERE IS NO MORE COMPETITION.

This makes it easier for MEGA CORPORATIONS to stay in business with no competition from the small guys. LEADS TO CRONY CAPITALISM.

It used to be as easy as getting a land lease, renting a drilling rig, and becoming Howard Hughes in 5 years. Sad...
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I've paid tens of thousands of dollars over the past 2 years for meaningless regulation. That has run small business away. THERE IS NO MORE COMPETITION."

Bard, you make statements like those above, but you never back any of it up with specifics. Over time, it's pretty clear that you want to keep the details of your business doings very secret. While I can understand a position of secrecy to a certain degree, I don't understand why you can't talk around things that are crucial to communication. Meaningless regulation? What in the hell does that mean, and why should anyone give a damn. It's like talking about how unhappy you are about life, but refusing to say why you're unhappy. For communication and understanding to exist, you have to share a bit of your reality, particularly if you want to change minds.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For years now mrgybe has claimed that the oil industry, and Exxon in particular, have learned their lessons and need less regulation. Those of us who disagree are disparaged, with the message being that only real men get ahead in the oil industry. And by the way, the pipeline for Canadian tar sands raises no siting issues, and Obama should have approved it before the election. All of it happy horseshit, as the oil industry tries to cripple efforts to regulate their industry in any new way, and defund existing regulations. Two examples in the recent news. First, there is the little Exxon oops in Arkansas--a 22 foot long break in a 60 year old pipeline. Weren't we just told that pipeline siting is a fine science, and we should approved them without worry? The response? Try to prevent news media from covering the spill. You think maybe they should have a program to inspect and replace 60 year old pipelines? Cheaper to pay the fines than prevent the spills?

Here's the LA Times coverage:


By Matt Pearce
April 12, 2013, 6:30 a.m.

The images from Mayflower, Ark., after a March 29 oil spill were particularly repulsive: A river of black goo running through yards and down the street of a subdivision, and hundreds of workers arriving to clean up an industrial mess in a peaceful burg.

But the Exxon Mobil pipeline spill, initially estimated to have released at least 157,000 gallons of crude oil and driven more than 20 families from their homes, represents only a fraction of the regular oil losses from the huge network of pipelines stretching across the United States.

Between 2008 and 2012, U.S. pipelines spilled an average of more than 3.1 million gallons of hazardous liquids per year, according to data from the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the nation's pipeline regulator. Those spills -- most commonly caused by corrosion and equipment failure -- caused at least $1.5 billion in property damage altogether.

In 2010, a historic inland spill of 819,000 gallons of diluted bitumen -- a kind of oil from the tar sands in Alberta -- shut down the Kalamazoo River for miles after a pipeline break in Marshall, Mich. Enbridge Inc., a Canadian pipeline company, ended up buying 150 homes from locals too unsettled by the disaster to return. That spill was overshadowed by the cataclysmic BP Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, also in 2010.

The Mayflower spill, much smaller by comparison, has nonetheless spurred action from the Arkansas attorney general, who this week used a subpoena to compel Exxon Mobil to turn over 12,587 pages of documents, five CDs of data and 200 blueprint-sized diagrams related to the company's Pegasus Pipeline and its spill.

Arkansas Atty. Gen. Dustin McDaniel has requested $4 million from Exxon to help pay the state's investigative expenses for exploring why a 2-inch-wide, 22-foot-long crack developed in the pipeline -- which sits 2 feet underground and was capable of carrying up to 3 million gallons of oil a day from Illinois to Texas.

Exxon said Thursday the cause of the spill was still unknown and that officials were planning to excavate the damaged portion of the pipeline soon for further investigation. The company remains barred by regulators from reopening the pipeline until the company submits plans for further tests and evaluations.

A federal class-action lawsuit filed against Exxon by Mayflower residents alleges that the company "failed to inspect and maintain their unsafe and defective pipeline." The residents' attorneys, the Little Rock-based Duncan Firm, noted that the company had once violated federal regulations for not inspecting part of the 65-year-old pipeline for flaws between 2002 and 2010. The company paid a $26,200 fine as a result.

Exxon had inspected the portion of the pipeline that cracked in 2010 without finding flaws, but it was still awaiting the results of a February scan conducted on the same segment, according to the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

As of Thursday, Arkansas health officials had agreed to a plan to open 10 of the evacuated homes to residents, pending air-quality tests, if the residents want the tests. Exxon is paying for the cleanup and says it will honor residents' claims for damages; 208 claims have already been filed.

Four snakes, 21 turtles and a toad were released back into the wild Thursday, and officials said about 27 animals were still being cleaned.

And then there is the release of dueling reports by Chevron and the Chemical Safety Board. The CSB went first,

and Chevron's press release arrived in my e-mail today--saying that they have fixed all the problems. Digging a little deeper, one can find what the impacts of cutting regulations has been. Investigating the causes of the fire has taken 10,000 hours of regulators time. Total time inspecting the facility over the last decade is about 100 hours. Of course Chevron violated their own plans in a number of ways in not replacing the pipe when corrosion was noted, and in responding to the spill that became a conflagration. But mrgybe and his allies the Koch's--and Bard--assure us that there is too much regulation.

Will mrgybe wring the oil out of his knickers and favor us with a response? He has managed to paper over the problems expanding the refinery from his deep knowledge 3,000 miles away? And he was admitted to this country as a "legal" immigrant because of his tremendous importance? I'm betting not.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apropos of fossil fuels and ethics:

by John Timmer - May 29 2013, 10:25am PDT

Lisa Jackson, who ran the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during Obama's first term, is joining Apple to help the company with environmental compliance issues. Word of the hiring came from Tim Cook himself, who mentioned it while on stage during the All Things Digital conference yesterday.

Jackson previously served as head of New Jersey's state EPA before taking the helm of the national organization. Although her departure came amidst a controversy over use of a private e-mail account to handle official business, she will most likely be remembered as the person who finally obeyed a Supreme Court order and made an official endangerment finding regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The rule should eventually see emissions limits that will likely block the construction of any new coal plants that don't have a carbon capture mechanism.

The hiring comes as Apple is starting to produce hardware in the US for the first time in many years. In that context, Jackson's hiring could be a big help.

Now can anyone imagine Exxon actually understanding, or caring, that the credibility of their environmental efforts might matter to their business line? Much less hiring Lisa Jackson?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm willing to concede that XOM would probably not hire Lisa Jackson.....and it is apropos ethics. They would regard the lack of ethics displayed by Jackson at the EPA, which caused her resignation, to be a disqualifier.

".......federal law has set up several barriers to prevent officials from using non-official or secret e-mail addresses to conduct business and then conceal the contents of those accounts from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Politico reports that the EPA was supposed to ensure that anyone requesting Jackson’s e-mails under FOIA would also have access to communications from “Richard Windsor.” “But the system is far from foolproof,” it dryly notes.

When the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market group, came up empty on its FOIA requests for Jackson’s e-mails relating to her anti-coal efforts, it was told by an EPA whistleblower that she was using “Richard Windsor” and other aliases to coordinate with outside anti-coal groups and engage in other activity she wouldn’t want to come to light."

The 12,000 "Richard Windsor" emails, at first hidden, but ultimately produced after the whistle was blown, just wouldn't look good on her resume.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How shocking that mrgybe would be hating on an EPA Administrator, and using Politico as a source. However, I am reassured that he has now seen the error of his ways, and realizes that the secret communications used to establish energy policy by Cheney during the Bush Administration are now unethical. No?

As John Dean described it--situational ethics. How GOP.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's called the Bruiser Bounce..........

Step 1. Post a silly, or fabricated, or wildly inaccurate accusation
Step 2. Be proven wrong, or made to look foolish
Step 3. Bounce to a totally unrelated silly, fabricated or wildly inaccurate accusation and repeat

Intersperse steps 1 & 3 liberally with name calling, personal slurs and defamatory comments.
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