Chevron's Richmond refinery to forgo clean-air upgrades

Reuters File PhotoAfter repairing the damage from the August refinery fire in Richmond

Chevron does not plan to increase production at its fire-damaged Richmond refinery after repairs are made, allowing it to forgo requirements to install the newest clean-air technologies, the company said.

A section of the refinery was damaged in an Aug. 6 fire that sent a cloud of black smoke into the air and spurred thousands to seek medical treatment. The cause of the fire was a leaky decades-old pipe that failed due to corrosion.

In documents filed last week, Chevron told the Bay Area Air Quality Management District it would repair — not replace — its existing equipment, which means the company will not be forced to adopt the industry’s most advanced pollution equipment. Still, the company said, it will voluntarily cut air pollution emissions and replace about one-third of the facility’s potentially leaky valves and fittings.

Federal law dictates that refinery owners must install the best available pollution technology in use worldwide, but only when companies make large-scale changes to a facility.

Chevron’s decision comes after the Richmond City Council and air district passed resolutions calling for more advanced technologies to be installed.

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