VALLEJO (KPIX 5) — The Phillips 66 Refinery in Rodeo wants to double the number of tankers that deliver crude to be refined, but concerns about the environment have prompted opposition from residents in the city of Vallejo.
Vallejo resident Robert Brekke said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
Brekke will have the opportunity Thursday night to fight plans to increase traffic at the Phillips 66 oil refinery across the bay.
The oil company wants to more than double the number of tankers bringing in crude oil every year.
If this permit request is approved, it will mean a lot more oil tankers in San Pablo Bay. Currently only 59 tankers are allowed to deliver crude oil to the refinery in Rodeo each year, this proposal ups that number to 135 each year.
Erica Maharg, managing attorney for the environmental protection group Baykeeper, says this expansion puts the bay directly at risk for more oil spills.
Maharg said, “I think the size of the expansion is the big concern for us.”
She said, “The increase in ship traffic I think increases the potential that a ship will have some sort of catastrophic accident and have a major oil spill.”
Less than 10 months ago an oil spill at the Phillips 66 refinery sent more than 100 people from Vallejo to the hospital because of noxious odors.
The air quality district released a list of preliminary concerns it’s addressing with residents Thursday night, like diminished air quality, increased diesel emissions, impact on coastal marsh habitat, increased greenhouse gas emissions, risk of toxic exposure, fires and emissions.
Baykeepers is asking concerned citizens to sign an action letter to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to block the expansion.
Phillips 66 will not attend Thursday night’s meeting but tells us this won’t impact production levels at the refinery. They say the plan is to decrease transports from the pipeline and increase transports on the water.
Opponents say the plan is a step in the wrong direction.
Brekke said, “We should be thinking of more sustainable ways of living in this world and not just increasing more oil.”
We asked the air quality district if the Phillips 66 violation from September would have any impact on the refinery’s future plans. They told us because it’s still under investigation, they can’t answer that.
Public comment on this topic is still open online through August 28th.