Throwing California Under the (Tar Sands) Train

tar sands image

By Steven Low and Greg Karras
October 7, 2013

California’s own ‘Keystone’ tar sands pipeline might start off looking like an oil train, then grow to include the transport of crude oil via additional pipelines and naval vessels. Big Oil is planning to gear up infrastructure to process low-quality crude in Long Beach, Wilmington, Benicia, Rodeo, Pittsburg and Richmond (Chevron expansion). To build healthy communities and curb global warming, Californians need to work together to halt these proposals.

Refining oil is inherently a heavily polluting industrial activity. Thus, all crude oil is ‘dirty’. The impurities in lower grade oil, however, demands intensive processing, producing even MORE pollution. Refining dirtier crude, such as tar sands, is also more corrosive, rotting-out a refinery’s infrastructure. This increases the risk of industrial disasters like the Richmond Chevron refinery explosion on August 6, 2012. Refining dirtier crude poses immediate dangers to the health and safety of residents and workers.

CBE is engaging the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, a state regulator, to make refineries responsible for preventing any increase in emissions due to refining dirty crude, implementing comprehensive fence-line air monitoring and making raw air quality data publically available. Keeping the Bay Area and Southern California safe from the dangers of importing and refining dirtier crude will take immense people power and resources.

To join our climate and Big Oil struggle, contact Nile Malloy, Northern California Program Director.

Read more Fall 2013 articles.

* photo credit Michael Kappel