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Feds say Calif. should bolster refinery oversight

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 5, 2013 at 8:26 pm •  Published: April 5, 2013

In addition, the board said Cal-OSHA needs more, better-trained staff to be effective.

"Cal-OSHA would benefit from greater process safety staffing with expanded technical qualifications," Tillema wrote.

Chevron had performed internal reviews of its pipe system, which resulted in a 2009 memo calling for a comprehensive inspection to ensure the pipes weren't corroding to dangerous levels.

"This (recommendation) was not implemented by the Chevron Richmond Refinery, and neither Contra Costa (County inspectors) nor Cal-OSHA was aware of this memo," Tillema wrote.

Chevron did not return a request for comment.

Erika Monterroza, a spokeswoman for Cal-OSHA said the agency is reviewing the board's findings.

"As for this incident, we issued 25 citations, 23 of them for serious and willful violations with penalties of nearly $1 million, demonstrating that we take our enforcement obligations seriously," Monterroza said.

Cal-OSHA on Friday approved Chevron's request to restart production in the crude unit destroyed in the fire.

Chevron has said it plans to resume operations by the end of June.