Feds finger state in Chevron fire

Feds blame Richmond fire on weak state oversight

Federal investigators have concluded the fire at Chevron’s oil refinery in Richmond last August was the result of flawed state regulations.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board released an interim report on the fire, which produced a plume of smoke and gas that prompted about 15,000 of the area’s residents to seek medical attention for respiratory issues, according to SFGate.com. The report concluded California state regulations allowed Chevron to monitor potential problems rather than fix them, noting the company had installed more than 100 clamps on pipes throughout the refinery rather than making permanent repairs.

Further, refinery management had ignored recommendations from employees to replace the corroded pipe that burst in the crude-oil unit where the fire broke out.

“The bottom line is that Chevron had resources, time and technical expertise to know the risks,” said Rafael Moure-Eraso, chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. “However, there was no effective intervention before the major accident occurred.”