Torrance debating ban of refinery chemical

TORRANCE, Calif. (KABC) -- A heated city council meeting in Torrance looked at the issue of whether to ban a dangerous chemical in use at the local refinery.

The overflow crowd discussed a possible ban on the use of hydrofluoric acid at the Torrance Refinery.

Supporters of a ban said they were concerned about the possible injuries or death that could occur if the chemical is released into the air.

"I don't know about you but I'm planning on dying of natural causes," said Torrance resident Brian Hitchcock. "Not a choking, burning, horribly painful chemical death, whether it's slow or fast, that could have been prevented."

Opponents of the ban, including company officials and local employees, said the plant has used HF in the refining process for roughly 20 years.

They said the plant, which generates many jobs, could not remain open without use of the chemicals.

"Given the current state of technology, you cannot have both," said Jeff Dill, an official with PBF Energy.

The company also argued that the city should wait until state air quality control regulators finish their own look at the use of HF.
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