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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


We’re covering stories from around the nation including a victory for safety for nuclear site workers; President Trump chastises Republicans for not securing border wall funding; and a predicted spike in population fuels concerns about the need for care.

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Groups Protest Expansion of Tar-Sands Oil Refining in CA

Environmental advocates want the Trump administration to block a permit to expand a Bay Area oil refinery. (Jason Pfeifle)
Environmental advocates want the Trump administration to block a permit to expand a Bay Area oil refinery. (Jason Pfeifle)
March 20, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO – Protesters took to the streets of San Francisco on Monday, to denounce the possible expansion of an oil refinery in the North Bay town of Rodeo – a decision they say was taken behind closed doors.

Documents from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District show that Phillips 66 will now have permission to ramp up processing of oil sands at two hydrocracking units from 42,000 barrels a day to 65,000, a 55-percent increase.

Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, says the agency changed the permit and approved it after the public comment period was over. And he says the process emits toxins into the air.

"Processing tar sands is extremely dangerous and energy-intensive, and it's going to increase the risk of air pollution, of water pollution, and increase the risk of health impacts to our communities," Kretzmann warns.

Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, denied that the permit allows for an expansion and said the matter will be debated publicly at a hearing on April 9.

Phillips 66, when contacted, offered no comment.

Last year, local authorities in the San Luis Obispo area rejected a request by Phillips 66 to upgrade some rail lines to allow for more oil trains. The company has also applied to expand its marine terminals, to take in more tar sands via boat - something Kretzmann also opposes.

"It's going to receive these dangerous tar sands via ships, and those ships coming in and out of San Francisco Bay have potential to cause spills and accidents and do a great deal of harm to our fragile ecosystem in the Bay Area," he says.

A coalition of environmental groups petitioned the federal EPA on Monday to step in and overrule the permit. Those groups include Communities for a Better Environment, San Francisco Baykeeper, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club and Stand.earth.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA