Richmond Fire Costly for Chevron

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Chevron USA pleaded no contest to six charges in a criminal complaint by California state and local authorities related to the Aug. 6, 2012, fire at its Richmond refinery and will pay $2 million.

Chevron USA pled no contest to six charges related to California labor code, and health and safety code violations in a criminal complaint by state and local authorities over an Aug. 6, 2012, fire at its Richmond refinery.

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Chevron was convicted of violating the states labor code by, among other things, failing to correct deficiencies in equipment and continuing to use equipment which was outside acceptable limits, to prevent non-emergency personnel from entering the emergency area, to implement an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program to protect employees from an imminent hazard, and to require the use of protective equipment to protect employees from exposure to potential harm.

The company was also convicted of two violations of the health and safety code for the negligent emission of air contaminants, according to the announcement Monday by the Contra Costa County district attorneys office and California Department of Justice.

Under the settlement, Chevron must pay $2 million in restitution and costs, which includes $1.28 million in fines and penalties, and $575,000 in costs to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the California Department of Justice. Chevron will also be required to contribute $145,000 to Richmond Build, a public-private partnership focused on developing trained and skilled workers in the construction and renewable energy fields.

This criminal case achieves our goals of holding Chevron accountable for their conduct, protecting the public and ensuring a safer work environment at the refinery, said Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson. This historic resolution is also possible due to Chevrons commitment to do more than what is required by law in order to help ensure nothing like this ever happens again.

In a statement provided to Lube Report, Chevron said it is committed to continuous improvement in process safety and reliability at the refinery, and has worked to address issues identified in its investigation report, and by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and Cal/OSHA.

We have worked more than 1.9 million hours over 259 days to repair and improve the crude unit, Chevron stated. We have reimbursed community members and local government agencies in Richmond and West Contra Costa County for medical and response-related costs.

The company is also conducting a comprehensive inspection of the Richmond refinery. To date, we have inspected over 16,000 individual piping components. We are also implementing a multi-million-dollar expansion of our air-monitoring system to include several sites in the surrounding communities.

The Richmond refinery, built in 1902, is Chevrons third largest in the United States, with crude distillation capacity of 245,300 barrels per day. The companys 20,700 barrels per day API Group II base oil plant in Richmond was not involved in the Aug. 2012 fire.

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