RICHMOND (KCBS)— The damaged crude oil unit that exploded in flames at Chevron’s Richmond refinery last August is now undergoing repairs, but the work is being done under close scrutiny.

The August 6th incident triggered a vapor plume that spread for miles, sickening several thousand East Bay residents. Refinery officials are now reported to be making repairs, with oversight from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District as well as other environmentalist groups.

Some East Bay environmentalists contend Chevron is bypassing an opportunity to further reduce emissions from its Richmond refinery by not redesigning the whole crude unit.

Contra Costa Supervisor and Chair of the Air District Board John Gioia said Chevron is following the letter of the law.

KCBS’ Bob Butler Reports:

“They will be putting in the best available control technology for these parts, which will result in some sort of slight decrease emissions, but not major,” Gioia said.

He added Chevron is not increasing production, so the company is not required to make sweeping changes by installing new emissions technology.

Richmond City Councilman Tom Butt said any changes that occur may happen during the review of the refinery’s modernization project.

“The city is going to get a bite of that apple as we process the permit for Chevron’s modernization project, which is underway,” he said.

Butt said he’s okay with the work Chevron is performing on the crude oil unit.

The fire and smoke from the incident sent more than 15,000 people to local hospitals, seeking treatment.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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