It’s Been a Year Since the ExxonMobil Blast, Is South Bay Any Safer?

MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS--In the year since an explosion rocked the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, more questions than answers remain.


Chief among them: Is the company able to safely operate the plant? Do federal and state agencies have the capacity to regulate it? And can emergency responders protect the public from disaster?

The question also arises whether local residents are any safer today than they were 12 months ago.

South Bay Rep. Ted Lieu, among the harshest critics of ExxonMobil since the blast, is unsure of the answer to that question.

“It’s irresponsible that, one year later, ExxonMobil is still not answering questions from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, so I don’t know if we’re any safer,” the former Torrance councilman conceded. “They’re not just stalling. They’re refusing to answer nearly half of their subpoena requests.”

That’s the same figure the agency cited last month, and the lack of movement has prompted the federal government to up the ante, said Vanessa Allen Sutherland, chairwoman of the agency’s board.

“The Department of Justice is preparing to enforce the CSB’s subpoenas,” she said via email Tuesday. “In order to thoroughly investigate the near-miss incident that occurred during the Feb. 18, 2015, explosion at the ExxonMobil Refinery in Torrance, the CSB requires ExxonMobil’s compliance with the outstanding subpoenas.” (Read the rest.


  • Our thanks to John Bailey, President of the Southeast Torrance HOA, for the story tip.