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Interagency Refinery Task Force. Gina M. Solomon, M.D., M.P.H. Deputy Secretary for Science and Health California Environmental Protection Agency Background.

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interagency refinery task force

Interagency Refinery Task Force

Gina M. Solomon, M.D., M.P.H.

Deputy Secretary for Science and Health

California Environmental Protection Agency

  • Governor’s Working Group on Refinery Safety formed in September 2012 after Chevron Richmond refinery fire;
  • Participants from 13 agencies and departments;
  • Met with industry, labor, community, environmental, academic, local emergency response and other stakeholders;
  • Reviewed reports and documents from CSB, CalOSHA, LOHP, WSPA, Chevron, and others;
  • Issued draft report “Improving Public and Worker Safety at Oil Refineries” in July 2013;
  • Expect to release a final report later this Fall.
goals of governor s working group
Goals of Governor’s Working Group
  • Examine ways to improve public and worker safety through enhanced oversight of refineries; and
  • Strengthen emergency preparedness in anticipation of any future incident.
findings oversight and coordination
Findings: Oversight and Coordination
  • Regulatory agencies with responsibility for refinery oversight have overlapping jurisdictions;
  • No single state or local regulatory entity has a complete picture of compliance status;
  • Some good models out there (eg. Contra Costa ISO and Safety Summits);
  • Overall, agencies engage in relatively little information-sharing and coordination of efforts.
findings emergency response and preparedness
Findings: Emergency Response and Preparedness
  • No clear definition of when refinery must notify local officials of a release;
  • Hazardous Materials Area Plans do not address some key issues;
  • Difficulties in communication between emergency responders;
  • Air monitoring network does not provide real-time data;
  • Challenges communicating with surrounding communities regarding health risk and appropriate actions.
findings safety and prevention of hazardous events
Findings: Safety and Prevention of Hazardous Events
  • Gaps in the Process Safety Management (PSM) and California Accidental Release Program (CalARP) regulations;
  • Regulatory agency challenges, including limited staffing, resources, and penalties;
  • Limited data availability

and information sharing.

findings shortcomings in community education and alerts
Findings: Shortcomings InCommunity Education and Alerts
  • Nearby residents had little sense of the severity of the situation or what individual actions they should take;
  • Difficulty disseminating information to the public and other media sources;
  • LEPCs are not aligned geographically or functionally with the CUPAs and have become disconnected from community right-to-know efforts;
  • Public involvement has not been

well-integrated into air monitoring


recommendations categories
Recommendations Categories
  • Emergency management and response;
  • Safety and prevention;
  • Education and outreach to the public;
  • Improved agency coordination through the establishment of an Interagency Refinery Task Force.
recommendations emergency management and response
Recommendations:Emergency Management and Response
  • Work with CUPAs to create refinery-specific elements in Hazardous Material Area Plans:
      • alignment of radio communications between response officials;
      • clear criteria for the establishment of a Unified Incident Command and Joint Operation Center;
      • plans and protocols for transit agencies and other major entities outside refineries; and
      • requirements for joint drills and exercises.
  • Clarify reporting thresholds during hazardous materials release or threatened release;
  • Improve real-time monitoring of toxic air contaminants.
recommendations safety and prevention
Recommendations: Safety and Prevention
  • Strengthen PSM and Cal ARP Programs:
      • implement inherently safer systems to the extent feasible;
      • perform periodic safety culture assessments;
      • adequately incorporate damage mechanism hazard reviews into Process Hazard Analyses;
      • complete root cause analysis after significant accidents or releases; and
      • explicitly account for human factors.
  • Strengthen enforcement capacity:
      • increase the maximum penalty amounts
      • provide agencies with sufficient resources
      • require refineries to provide regulatory agencies with timely information.
  • Ensure that data and information is shared among agencies;
  • Areas for Study: leading and lagging indicators, increasing worker involvement, and exploring the safety case approach.
recommendations education and outreach to the public
Recommendations:Education and Outreach to the Public
  • Improve existing alert systems and create a more comprehensive system to notify local residents;
  • Increase public involvement in emergency planning processes;
  • Increase public involvement in air monitoring;
  • Create Refinery Safety Forums.
recommendation interagency refinery task force
Recommendation:Interagency Refinery Task Force

“An Interagency Refinery Task Force will be created within the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) by September 1, 2013, to coordinate agencies’ activities and carry out the recommendations in this report.”

interagency refinery task force1
Interagency Refinery Task Force
  • First meeting on August 28, 2013;
  • Members: Cal OES, Cal/EPA, ARB, DTSC, SWRCB, DIR, Cal/OSHA, DPH, and OSFM. U.S. EPA, CUPAs, and APCDs in locations where refineries operate.
  • Goals:
      • Implement the recommendations in the Governor’s Interagency Working Group on Refinery Safety’s report “Improving Public and Worker Safety at Oil Refineries”
      • Enhance coordination of oversight, enforcement, outreach and response activities by regulatory agencies.
      • Establish refinery safety forums in northern, central and southern California for ongoing dialogue among industry, labor, community, environmental groups and regulators to enhance public and worker knowledge and safety.
interagency refinery task force2
Interagency Refinery Task Force
  • Two working groups formed:
    • Emergency preparedness and response
      • Conveners: Cal OES & Cal/EPA
    • Safety and prevention
      • Conveners: DIR & Cal/EPA
  • Next steps:
    • Create work plans and timelines by mid-October;
    • Work with Governor’s office to finalize report;
    • Plan for public meetings in Bay Area, So Cal, and Central Valley.

Contact Info:

Gina M. Solomon, M.D., M.P.H.

Deputy Secretary for Science and Health

California Environmental Protection Agency

Phone: 916-324-8735