Category Archives: Phillips 66

If California is so climate friendly, why are Bay Area air regulators allowing increased tar sands oil refining (and offshore drilling)?

Repost from Red Green and Blue

If California is so climate friendly, why are they upping tar sands oil refining (and offshore drilling)?

By Dan Bacher, September 4, 2018

As thousands get ready to march in the Rise for Climate Day of Action in San Francisco September 8 and the city gears up to host the Governor Jerry Brown co-sponsored Global Climate Action Summit next week, area climate and environmental justice advocates say local air regulators mandated to protect air quality and the climate are taking significant steps to allow increased tar sands refining and creeping refinery emissions in the Bay Area.

No Fossil Fuels for California
(Photo by Peg Hunter)

Major public protest is expected tomorrow, September 5,  at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) Board of Directors meeting at 9:30 a.m. at the agency’s headquarters at 375 Beal St., San Francisco.

The event will preceded at 8 a.m. by an Idle No More SF Bay-led prayer circle and teach-in outside BAAQMD headquarters, according to a press release from the Communities for a Better Environment, 350 Bay Area and the Sunflower Alliance.

The local climate and environmental justice advocates say they plan to “sound the alarm about the widening gap between lofty California climate goals and the reality on the ground here in the Bay Area and other refining centers in the state.”

A recent public records request reveals that BAAQMD staff issued an administrative permit on August 16, 2018 to increase production capacity at the Phillips 66 refinery by 61.3 million gallons per year.

“This permit allows for increased heavy oil processing, or hydrocracking, at the Rodeo facility, and will enable the refiner to process the increased amounts of Canadian tar sands oil it proposes to bring in across San Francisco Bay via nearly tripled oil tanker traffic in a wharf expansion project,” the groups said. “ This small but highly significant step actually allows Phillips 66 to begin implementing its goal of switching its San Francisco Refinery over to tar sands.”

“The Rodeo refinery is connected to its sister refinery in Santa Maria by pipeline; together they make up the larger San Francisco Refinery.  Two years ago, multi-community protest shut down a Phillips 66 proposal to increase tar sands deliveries by oil train to the Santa Maria facility,” the groups said.

“The company is trying to sneak its expansion past regulators and the public by pretending each little increase is unconnected, but we aren’t fooled,” said Sejal Choksi-Chugh, Executive Director of San Francisco Baykeeper regarding the permit:

The groups said the permit was issued without any public review or notice while Chief Air Pollution Control Officer Jack Broadbent was meeting with First Nations representatives and touring tar sands mining sites in Alberta, Canada.

“The fact-finding tour, which included several BAAQMD board members, took place at the urgent request of members of Idle No More SF Bay, who urged local regulators to connect the dots between the destructive impacts of Canadian tar sands mining on carbon-sequestering boreal forest and First Nations peoples, soaring greenhouse gas emissions and local Bay Area air quality and public health,” they said.

Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More SF Bay said, “It is wildly irresponsible for Phillips 66 to add to the problems that are causing sick refinery communities and the climate disruption impacting us in California and around the world.  Phillips’ expansion proposal must be stopped and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the agency to stop it.”

Jed Holtzman of 350 Bay Area stated: “BAAQMD has committed to a vision of a fossil-free Bay Area in 2050, starting now with steep reductions of the pollution that causes premature death in our communities and destroys the stable climate.  Yet its action to allow Phillips 66 to expand its refinery infrastructure ensures more local air pollution and more greenhouse gas emissions. Air District permits must be aligned with agency goals.”

Area climate and environmental justice advocates said news of the secret permit was distressing to many of them.

“This type of rubber-stamping of refinery permits demonstrates how BAAQMD serves at the pleasure of the fossil fuel industry, not the citizens who live in the Bay Area,” said refinery neighbor Nancy Rieser of C.R.U.D.E., Crockett-Rodeo United in Defense of the Environment.

Ironically, the permit was issued nearly five years to the day after the Air District board passed a resolution condemning the KXL pipeline, noted Rieser.

That resolution warned against the more intensive processing required by tar sands oil, which causes enormous quantities of toxic, criteria and greenhouse gas pollutants to spew from refinery smokestacks.  As the 2013 resolution made clear, “any increase” of these pollutants will cause negative impacts on the health of local residents.

”Tar sands bitumen is the most carbon-intensive, hazardous and polluting major oil resource on the planet to extract, transport, and refine. Despite this, the Air District staff is intentionally bypassing California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review and refusing to evaluate the climate impacts of its permit, which opens the gates to increased tar sands refining,” the groups said.

“Staff argues that it must bypass CEQA, one of California’s greatest environmental protections, because the revised cap-and-trade program (AB 398) that Governor Brown so aggressively pushed for last summer has withdrawn the authority of all regional Air Districts to directly regulate refinery-emitted greenhouse gases.   California’s carbon pollution-trading program is now BAAQMD’s chief alibi for eliminating public and board review, and for refusing to protect the climate from oil pollution,” the groups said.

Activists said they are also alarmed by the “gutting and indefinite postponement of a long-awaited particular-matter reduction regulation impacting the Chevron, Marathon (formerly Tesoro) and Shell refineries.”

A letter submitted to the Air District by 25 environmental justice organizations on August 16 points to yet another “secret agreement”—this one signed with the oil industry by the District’s Chief Air Pollution Control Officer. The agreement commits the Air District to propose and advocate for weakened emissions limits.

”As the Global Climate Action Summit rapidly approaches, our air quality regulators and designated climate protectors need to stop coddling the oil industry and start demonstrating real accountability to the public. People’s lives depend on it,” the groups concluded.

Read the Demand Letter to BAAQMD for Refinery PM Clean-Up at www.CBECAL.org.

While California is often lauded as a “climate leader” and Governor Jerry Brown is praised as a “climate hero” in national and international idea, the reality is much different, as we can see in the  widening gap between lofty California climate goals and the reality on the ground in the Bay Area and other refining centers in the state.

The reality is that Big Oil is the largest and most powerful lobby and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is the largest and most powerful lobbying organization. As a result of the enormous political influence of WSPA and the oil industry on the Brown administration and the Legislature, Governor Brown’s oil and gas regulators have approved over 21,000 new oil and gas permits in the past seven years — and Brown controls 4 times the number of offshore wells that Donald Trump does.

WSPA and Big Oil wield their power in 6 major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) serving on and putting shills on regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups: (5) working in collaboration with media; and (6) contributing to non profit organizations.

This article on Big Oil Regulatory Capture is a must-read for everybody going to the BAAQMD meeting tomorrow, the Rise for Climate March on September 8, and the many other climate events planned for the coming week: Before the Rise for Climate March Sept. 8, read this: Big oil’s grip on California.

    Please attend the Bay Area Air District meeting this Monday, April 9

    Repost from Sunflower Alliance

    No Tar Sands in the Bay!  …April 9 meeting of the BAAQMD

    Come show your opposition to the expansion of the Phillips 66 Rodeo refinery!

    The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is considering Phillips 66’s application for a permit to more than double the number of tankers coming into their marine terminal. 

    WHEN
    Monday, April 9, 8:30 AM to 12 PM

    WHERE
    BAAQMD headquarters
    375 Beale St.,
    San Francisco

    RSVP

    Since Phillips 66 owns a big tar-sands mining operation in Alberta, we can assume the tankers will be bringing tar sands oil.

    First Nations in Canada have been battling the planned tripling of the pipeline that brings tar sands oil from Alberta through their lands to the West Coast, where it can be shipped to refineries in California.

    Phillips 66 has denied that expanding the wharf will mean increasing production at the refinery.   However, bringing in the additional amount of oil enabled by the wharf expansion plus the amount currently carried by the pipeline from the P66 sister refinery in Santa Maria equals a 15% increase in capacity.

    Expanding production would mean emitting more greenhouse gases and health-harming pollution into neighboring communities.  In addition, increasing the amount of oil coming through the Bay in tankers will increase the risk of  oil spills, like the one at Phillips 66 last September, which sent a plume of toxic air to Vallejo.  But it’s worse — because tar sands crude oil is so heavy and thick it can’t be cleaned up once it’s spilled.  It would just sink to the bottom of the Bay and stay there, contaminating the water, plants, and wildlife.

    Now BAAQMD has created an “ad hoc committee” on refineries, which plans to discuss these issues at its next meeting.  Come tell BAAQMD: No tar sands in the Bay!  No new fossil fuel projects!  No Phillips 66 expansion!  And stand with First Nations people in Canada fighting for their land.

    WHEN

    Monday, April 9, 8:30 AM to 12 PM

    WHERE

    BAAQMD headquarters
    375 Beale St.,
    San Francisco

    RSVP

    Hosted by Idle No More SF Bay and Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty

      Phillips 66 Seeks to Increase Number of Oil Tankers on San Francisco Bay

      Repost from Earth Island Journal

      Proposal could pose risk to local communities and wildlife

      A version of this story originally appeared on the Baykeeper website.

      The oil company Phillips 66 wants to increase the number of tanker ships carrying crude oil across San Francisco Bay to its refinery in Rodeo — from 59 to 135 tankers per year. They have also proposed increasing the average amount of oil unloaded at Rodeo from 51,000 barrels to 130,000 barrels a day.

      oil tanker in san francisco bay
      Photo by Jill/Blue Moonbeam StudioAn oil tanker crosses under the Golden Gate Bridge. Phillips 66 has submitted a proposal to increase the number of oil takers that can carry oil to its bay-side refinery by more than two-fold.

      More than doubling the number of oil tankers would increase the risk of oil spills in the Bay. Oil spilled in the water can kill birds and other wildlife, make the Bay unsafe for recreation, and contaminate local beaches.

      Plus, the company’s proposal raises other concerns. The increased tanker traffic would likely carry dirty, heavy tar sands oil from Canada. This type of oil is difficult, if not impossible, to remove after a spill.

      In 2010, when tar sands oil spilled into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, response crews were unable to completely remove the oil from the riverbed, even after five years of expensive cleanup efforts. If tar sands oil spilled in San Francisco Bay, it could harm wildlife in the water nearby and smother bottom-dwelling creatures that are critical to the Bay’s food chain.

      The Phillips 66 refinery already has a poor track record of oil spills. In September 2016, oil was spilled there during the unloading of a tanker ship, causing large oil slicks in the northern San Francisco Bay. Over 100 residents near the refinery sought treatment at hospital emergency rooms for exposure to fumes that were later linked to the oil spill.

      And then again, in September of this year, a small spill at the Phillips 66 refinery wharf left a 20 foot by 20 foot oil sheen on the Bay’s water. The impacts of small spills like this can accumulate and harm the overall health and resilience of the Bay and its wildlife.

      Phillips’ needs a modified permit from the Bay Area Air Quality District to proceed with the expansion, and the district is beginning work on an environmental impact report for the proposal. Following that process, the board of directors will vote on whether to proceed.

      In communities near the refinery, public opposition to Phillips’ expansion proposal is building. Baykeeper, a nonprofit advocating for the health of the Bay ecosystem, is working alongside community and environmental organizations to oppose any increase of oil tankers on San Francisco Bay. So far, over 24,000 Bay Area residents have responded to action alerts and told responsible agencies to reject the proposal.

      A similar coalition effort succeeded in stopping two previous proposals for expansion of Bay Area oil refining. Along with partner organizations and many concerned community members, Baykeeper stopped Valero Energy Corporation’s attempt to expand its rail yard and bring more oil by train to its Benicia refinery. That proposal would have led to a risk of oil spills and possible accidents along the Bay shoreline and in communities near railroad tracks. Our coalition also stopped a planned crude oil storage facility that was proposed by the energy infrastructure corporation WesPac for Pittsburg.

      Whether we live close to or far from a refinery, every Bay Area resident has a stake in the number of tankers carrying crude oil across the Bay. Our communities and many local businesses rely on a healthy Bay. And for wildlife that depends on the Bay, it’s a matter of life and death. By saying no to the risk of more oil spills on San Francisco Bay, we can make sure this place we call home is protected for future generations.