Photo courtesy of SoCal 350 Climate Action.
More than 1,000 people gathered in Wilmington on Saturday to protest Tesoro Oil Refinery’s planned merger that some say would have detrimental effects on neighboring residents, including the West Long Beach community.
The protest was part of the People’s Climate March, and included speeches by actresses Jane Fonda and Cheryl Hines, environmental activist Robert Kennedy, Jr. and state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon at the refinery.
Photo courtesy of JaneFonda.com.
Organizers said they were protesting Tesoro’s merger with BP Carson and what they call a plan to double the importation of crude oil from Canada and North Dakota.
“The very explosive crude oil from North Dakota will, if we cannot prevent it, be brought through Standing Rock, under the Missouri River, across the Plains states down to this refinery as will the most dangerous, poisonous, methane-producing tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada,” Fonda said in a blog post after the march. “This is what the Keystone XL pipeline is all about.”
“The environmental analysis is insufficient, frankly. They’re underestimating the impacts on the community and that’s the big reason we’re out here,” said Jack Eidt of SoCal 350 Climate Action, who stressed the already large number of pollution sources in the South Bay. ”We’ve got five refineries and two major ports in this area… we don’t need to be expanding more refineries.”
A spokesperson for Tesoro said the project is an integration of the company’s existing Carson and Wilmington operations and does not represent an expansion, but will increase the refinery’s crude-oil processing capacity by about 2 percent.
“The new and replacement crude oil storage tanks, which are one of the main concerns we have heard, are being built in areas of Tesoro’s property where tanks already exist; we aren’t constructing a new terminal,” Brissa Sotelo, Tesoro’s manager for Southern California public and government affairs, told City News Service.
Sotelo added that the larger storage tanks will allow ships carrying the fuel to make fewer dock trips to unload their cargo, which in turn helps the environment by reducing ship emissions.
City News Service contributed to this report.