News hit the gasoline market in California today via the Los Angeles Times that Exxon's Torrance refinery is not likely to get a waiver from air quality managment officials to restart anytime soon. As we discussed at a press conference in Los Angeles today, inflated gasoline prices are likely to stay way too high for too long because Exxon just cannot seem to get its act together.
AQMD regulators seem to be reacting to evidence recently aired at Capitol Watchdog that Exxon had defied subpoenas about the February explosion in Torrance by the US Chemical Safety Board and was shining on two US Congress members about why.
Today, Consumer Watchdog (Capitol Watchdog's owner) revealed that ExxonMobil may in other ways be subverting a federal and state investigation into the explosion at its Torrance refinery last February that hobbled gasoline production and pushed gas prices sky high. The information was contained in a letter to Governor Jerry Brown, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
"Consumer Watchdog received confidential information that the key Exxon employee who reportedly made decisions leading to the explosion is being hidden from investigators,” we wrote and named the employee.
“California holds corporate managers criminally accountable if they have knowledge of workplace safety dangers but fail to report them,” the letter stated. “California Penal Code Section 387 applies to Exxon’s CEO Rex Tillerson as much as it does to this employee, who should be granted whatever protections may be necessary to get at the truth.”
The Exxon explosion is directly to blame for the extra $1 per gallon Southern Californians have been paying for their gasoline since the February explosion. The extra money spent by drivers at the pump has topped $6 billion. We hope that's impetus enough for Brown, Lynch, and Harris to interview the Exxon employee and demand answers.