Interagency Refinery Task Force

A fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond in August 2012 raised public questions and concerns about refinery safety and emergency response in California. Following a directive from the Governor’s July 2013 report on “Improving Public and Worker Safety at Oil Refineries,” CalEPA formed an Interagency Task Force on Refinery Safety in August 2013. The Task Force membership includes ten state agencies, U.S. EPA, and local agencies from areas of the state that contain refineries. They will work collaboratively to achieve the highest possible level of safety for refinery workers and local communities, and prepare for and effectively respond to emergencies if they occur.

Click here to learn more about the Task Force.

New Reports: Air Monitoring

In September 2017, the state issued two reports on improving air monitoring at refineries and in surrounding communities, in support of Task Force goals. A press release, issued on Sept. 28, 2017, provides additional summary information.

  • Refinery Emergency Air Monitoring Assessment Report (PDF) — This draft report provides recommendations to improve emergency and routine air monitoring, and to better inform surrounding communities during incidents that result in increases in pollution or toxic releases. It was produced by the California Air Resources Board and the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association, in conjunction with the Interagency Refinery Task Force. This follows a 2015 report (PDF) on Objective 1: Delineation of Existing Capabilities (PDF). Additional information is available on the CARB’s Refinery Air Monitoring website.
  • Analysis of Refinery Chemical Emissions and Health Effects (PDF) – This addendum to the air monitoring report lists chemicals emitted from refineries and prioritizes them based on their emission levels and toxicity. This analysis can be used to inform discussions on which chemicals to monitor. It was produced by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment in conjunction with the Interagency Refinery Task Force.

Regulatory Changes: Safety and Prevention

New regulations to strengthen workplace and environmental safety at oil refineries across the state were approved by the Office of Administrative Law in July and August 2017. The regulations implement key recommendations of the Governor’s Interagency Working Group on Refinery Safety, and are the result of a multi-year effort, including extensive public input and consultation with workers, industry, NGOs, local agencies, and communities. The regulations were developed by the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA).

Proposed Regulatory Changes: Emergency Response

The California Office of Emergency Services is proposing additional regulatory amendments to implement recommendations of the Governor’s Interagency Working Group on Refinery Safety.