Torrance residents angry ExxonMobil refinery may reopen, exceed pollution limits

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Residents are angry over a possible decision to allow ExxonMobil to exceed pollution limits at its Torrance refinery. (KABC)

Residents are angry over a possible decision to allow ExxonMobil to exceed pollution limits at its Torrance refinery.

"I have a gas mask because normally when any refinery starts up hydrogen cyanide, as well as over 30 other carcinogenic and toxic chemicals, those toxic chemicals are going to be emitted," said Elaine Wilson, an area resident.

Some Torrance residents are very worried the ExxonMobil refinery will be reopening. The refinery shut down since February 2015 when an explosion injured four people.

"ExxonMobil needs to start telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and South Coast AQMD needs to do their job for which they exist - that is to protect the health and wellbeing of people who live around this facility," said Jim Tarr of Stone Lions Environmental Corporation.

Tarr claimed if the refinery reopens, it will exceed pollution limits during the restart. He's concerned about one specific toxin.

"Hydrogen cyanide kills people," he said.

A statement released by ExxonMobil said it is working on a restart plan that will protect the environment.

The statement read in part: "ExxonMobil has been working cooperatively with South Coast Air Quality Management District staff on a restart plan that enhances community safety, protects the environment, and supports the economy...Our restart procedures have been thoroughly evaluated by the AQMD and are consistent with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Refinery Sector Rule and other relevant regulations."

Meanwhile, residents are saying they will fight until they are heard.

"If they think they're off the hook, they better think again," added Wilson. "Unions will be marching and activists will be marching and just ordinary citizens like me."

AQMD said it will hold a public meeting at Torrance City Hall Saturday morning to further discuss the plan.

Related Topics:
gas fumesair qualityexxonmobilTorranceLos Angeles County
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