The Corner

Re: Refineries

From a reader:


In 1993 I attended a luncheon at the West Coast Petroleum Refiners’ Association. The speaker was an LA county prosecutor. She told a room of 1000 mid-level refining execs and managers that LA County and CAL-OSHA, CAL-EPA, USEPA, and USOSHA had agreed to co-ordinate their prosecution of first line and second line supervisors for any violations of the vat of alphabet soup environmental and safety regulations. She further announced that they had agreed to go after these people, PERSONALLY. She said, inn so many words, violate CAL or US OSHA or EPA and we’ll take your house! And we won’t let your employer repay you!

The room was pretty quiet. Appetites seemed suppressed. When she asked for questions at the end of her little talk, the gaping group was silent. Being from the Midwest and not within the LA prosecutor’s grasp, I did venture a couple: Has your office considered the impact on the cost and benefits of this approach? Won’t this approach make it hard to find people who will work at refineries? Her crisp response: “Sir, if California were a country we would have the fourth largest GNP in the world. I don’t think anything the LA Prosecutors’ Office does will affect that.”

Ha ha.

Oh so you want to build a refinery in California. Don’t even think about it.

Dan Hirsch

Waukegan IL


PS. I also asked her if they would prosecute an injured worker who contributed to his injury by violating regulations. Her not so crisp response, “Oh, we’d handle that on a case by case basis.” Heh heh.


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