Does the scene below, on the left, look familiar?
The coker that was on fire this past Sunday was the same coker unit that caught fire last year. No statement has been released to the press to date about the fire’s cause or why it happened two years in a row.
(Short article about safety alert: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Hazmat-officials-respond-to-report-of-Rodeo-6420660.php)
For many residents in the fenceline community, it was “deja vu all over again.” Despite news reports published later in the day that stated a shelter-in-place advisory had been lifted, no emergency siren was ever sounded nor was the “advisory” sent to the residents through the telephone alert system (this is a system that alerts folks with medical issues and are otherwise considered sensitive responders.) The “advisory” was quietly posted on the County’s website 2 hours after the fire started. The time code of that County posting was 14.47 (almost 5 o’clock).
For many, this brought back memories of the deliberate and illegal Catacarb release by the same refinery of over 20 years ago. P66 told no in the community about the odorless, poisonous release. The County issued no warnings or advisories for 16 days.
Will this affect P66’s proposed Tar Sands/Propane Expansion project?
The coker that caught on fire (2 years in a row) is the same unit that is directly connected to the Nipomo/San Louis “front half” of the refinery via pipeline. This unit will be heavily involved in the receiving and processing of the Canadian Tar Sands, should P66 be allowed by the courts to go forward with its propane expansion project.
Both P66 and the Contra County are defendants in this case. The plaintiffs are Communities for a Better Environment, Rodeo Citizens Association and SAFER, a worker safety group.
Pictured above: Hazmat technicians appear to be taking air sample data with hand-held units from the area near Selby Slag, down the road from the fire. This photo was taken at shortly before 5, around the same time as the “post mortem” health advisory was posted on the County website.