California environmental groups sue over refinery marine terminal

Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:36pm EDT
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By Rory Carroll

SAN FRANCISCO, April 17 (Reuters) - Conservation groups filed a lawsuit against California on Friday, saying the state did not adequately consider environmental factors when it approved a 30-year lease last month for a marine terminal at Tesoro Corp's refinery near San Francisco Bay.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Communities for a Better Environment said the California State Lands Commission's review failed to take into account expected changes in the feedstock entering the refinery, which they said will include "lower quality" crudes such as Bakken crude and oil sands crude from Canada.

"This terminal aims to bring oil tankers carrying dirty crude oil, like explosive Bakken crude, into the San Francisco Bay, ramping up the risk of a terrible accident," said Vera Pardee, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.

"State officials shrugged off the dangers of these crude-carrying ships and rubberstamped a 30-year lease for a facility that pollutes our air and increases the threat of a catastrophic oil spill."

The suit calls for an immediate halt to terminal activities until a new environmental review is completed.

The Avon Marine Terminal is an integral part of Tesoro's 166,000-barrel-per-day Golden Eagle refinery, the state's fourth largest refinery.

A California State Lands Commission spokeswoman said the agency is reviewing the lawsuit. A Tesoro spokesperson said the company does not comment on pending legal matters. (Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Ken Wills)