Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) is urging the Tesoro Corporation and the American Petroleum Institute to take action on safety guidelines recently issued by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.
“Ensuring the safety of workers, surrounding communities and the environment needs to be of the highest importance when operating a refinery,” wrote Larsen, a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Accordingly, I ask that you provide me with specificity on how, if at all, you are addressing the safety alert guidance…I also ask that you provide me with details on any safety improvements you have made with respect to potential High Temperature Hydrogen Attack events since the April 2, 2010, incident.”
Larsen has been a leader in advocating for improved safety standards at oil refineries.
Following the 2010 tragedy at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, WA, Larsen repeatedly pressed the U.S. Chemical Safety Board for the timely release of a report investigating the explosion. Thereport that followed pinpointed the cause of the 2010 explosion as a High Temperature Hydrogen Attack which resulted in the rupture of a heat exchanger. Additionally, the report found that current industry practice did not meet minimum requirements to prevent future such explosions.
Accordingly, in February of this year, the American Petroleum Institute – which sets standards for the oil and gas industry – updated its standard. However, in July, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board deemed this new standard to be insufficient, and in August the agency followed up with new safety recommendations.