ALERT: This affects residents in Torrance, Redondo Beach, Gardena, Carson, Lawndale, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Wilmington, L.A., Lomita, Rolling Hills, San Pedro, Palos Verdes Estates, West Rancho Dominguez, and Long Beach, California.
Torrance Refining Company (formerly ExxonMobil ) in Torrance and Valero in Wilmington are the only two refineries in CA that use toxic and volatile forms of hydrofluoric acid (HF) which can have deadly cloud-forming behavior. All other CA refineries use a much safer alternative — sulfuric acid. PBF and Valero must stop using HF and switch to a safer alternative. This can be mandated by an AQMD rule or state law. A refinery shutdown is not required.
According to an EPA "worst case" scenario previously prepared by ExxonMobil prior to the refinery sale, the release of 50,000 lbs of their "Modified" HF (MHF) could result in a ground-hugging HF cloud drifting with the breeze 3.2 miles into surrounding areas at concentrations high enough to cause serious and irreversible injuries with short term exposure (and possibly fatalities). If released in an explosion, fire, earthquake, or terrorist attack, MHF could cause mass casualties in surrounding communities.
Alarmed? It gets worse.
* The Torrance refinery doesn't have 50,000 lbs. They have 250,000 lbs of MHF. Furthermore, ExxonMobil's estimated 3.2 mi. toxic distance is too low because they gave too much “credit” to MHF’s supposed ability to reduce HF cloud size. The actual risk zone is 15 miles. Thanks to an analysis by the local citizens group Torrance Refinery Action Alliance (TRAA), the EPA is now investigating ExxonMobil's scenario, and the SCAQMD is considering the adoption of a rule to ban it.
* During the February 18, 2015 explosion at the Torrance refinery, a flying 80,000 lb. piece of equipment hit just 3 ft. from a tank containing 50,000 lb. of MHF. Federal safety officials said the surrounding communities "dodged a bullet."
* On Sept 6, 2015, a leak of MHF from the Torrance refinery occurred. No sirens sounded, and the Torrance Fire department was notified only later by email.
* A key volunteer, Dr. S. Hayati with the grassroots Torrance Refinery Action Alliance (TRAA), recently uncovered the fact that in 1998, Mobil officials, Torrance Fire Department Chief R. Scott Adams, and possibly other city officials secretly approved the reduction of a key safety chemical that was supposed to make deadly HF safer in case of an accidental release. Thanks to the hard work of Dr. Hayati, the Chemical Safety Board has stated its intent to investigate MHF.
The South Bay should not accept the status of “sacrifice zone” for the benefit of PBF in Torrance and Valero in Wilmington. How much are more than a half-million Californians worth?
As a critical and time-sensitive public safety issue, we call on California lawmakers to immediately introduce legislation to BAN and REPLACE the use of MHF and HF at California refineries!
California Governor Jerry Brown
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160
California State Senator Ben Allen
Capitol Office (916) 651-4026
District Office (310) 318-6994
California State Senator Steven Bradford
Capitol Office (916) 651-4035
District Office (310) 514-8573
California State Assembly Al Muratsuchi
Capitol office (916) 319-2066
District Office (310) 375-0691
Join your concerned fellow citizens:
- State Senator
- State Senate - California-035
- State Assembly - California-066
In a post-Paris and post-San Bernardino, world the presence of Modified Hydrofluoric Acid (MHF) in the highly populated South Bay puts hundreds of thousands of Southern California residents at risk. A string of serious incidents and the poor response by ExxonMobil has a number of government agencies investigating the refinery and MHF. In the explosion on Feb 18, 2015 an 80,000 lb piece of equipment landed a few feet from a tank with 50,000 lb. of MHF. NOW is the time to remove MHF and replace it with safer and available alternatives. All but two refinery alkylation units in CA use sulfuric acid instead of MHF. Both MHF-using refineries are in the South Bay. The toxic risk zones of MHF at these two refineries cover all of the South Bay and a large part of LA County.
MHF needs to be outlawed in California. Until then the safety of a million people is in YOUR hands.
As a critical and time-sensitive public safety issue, we call on YOU to cooperate with other legislators to introduce a bill BANNING the use of Modified Hydrofluoric Acid or Hydrofluoric Acid in California refineries!
MODIFIED HYDROFLUORIC ACID RISK started this petition with a single signature, and now has 8,711 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.