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Big Bay Area refinery fire ends — economic disaster marches on

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Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

A fire that shut Chevron Corp’s Richmond plant, the second-largest refinery in California, was extinguished early on Tuesday as fears of a months-long closure caused a 25-cent spike in regional gasoline prices.

The fire that spewed flames and a column of smoke high above the densely populated industrial suburb of east San Francisco Bay shortly after 6 p.m. local time on Monday was contained by 11 p.m. and then extinguished, Chevron said. Officials have allowed a small controlled burn to continue…

“Safety officials are allowing a small controlled burn as a safety measure to reduce pressure. This is helping to ensure more hydrocarbons don’t escape,” Chevron spokesman Lloyd Avram said.

A delicate way of saying they’re burning off the crap that continues to escape.

An order for more than 100,000 nearby residents to remain indoors had been lifted, and local transit stations had reopened, authorities said. About 200 people have sought medical help, complaining of respiratory problems…

In Richmond, where residents have long lived in the shadow of one of the oldest refineries in the United States, some wondered if it would sharpen debate between residents, who worry about the environmental impact of the plant, and politicians who often seek more tax revenues for the declining industrial city…

Any lengthy disruption in production could affect the supply of fuel on the West Coast, particularly gasoline, due to the difficulty in meeting California’s super-clean specifications. The region also has few immediate alternative supply sources.

Like the song – what is there to say? Federal officials, Congress-creeps keep giving away billion$ to Big Oil to support everything from modernization to research. Our corporate demi-gods do little of either.

This crap refinery is 110 years old. It was the latest thing around – before World War 1. Now, the capitalist mantra of supply-and-demand kicks in and we can watch prices go up through the pall of smoke still hanging over northern California.

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Written by Ed Campbell

August 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm

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