March 6, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | CA-33) and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D | CA-43) sent a letter to the Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) requesting that the agency investigate the root causes of the February 18, 2015 explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, CA and make recommendations to increase refinery process and public safety.

The February incident, which hospitalized four workers and covered the surrounding residential neighborhoods with “catalyst dust,” was the third explosion in the Torrance refinery’s history and the third explosion at a U.S. refinery this year. A CSB investigation would contribute to Congress’ understanding of why U.S. refineries have a significantly higher accident rate than those in Europe.

Letter Highlights

  • “An investigation by CSB would complement the investigation into worker safety conditions already underway by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) and contribute significantly to Congress’ understanding of process safety at petroleum refineries throughout the country.”
  • “Due to the plant’s proximity to the surrounding community, the accident had the potential to cause substantial property damage and deaths and injuries among the general public”
  • “The Torrance plant was also the third U.S. refinery to experience an explosion this year, the latest in a trend of major incidents at petroleum refineries in recent years.”

Full Text of Lieu / Waters CSB Letter