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Tesoro: A Track Record of Pollution, Hostility to Workers, and Meddling in Politics

By Eric de Place - Sightline Daily, March 21, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Right about now, oil executives in Texas are boarding a plane bound for the Northwest. Their goal? To steam roll opposition to the monster oil train terminal that Tesoro wants to construct on the downtown waterfront of Vancouver, Washington.

Hot on the heels of learning that the local city council is narrowly opposed to the project, the oil refining giant is going on a full court press lobbying mission in Vancouver, Washington. The companies leadership, including senior VPs and CEO Greg Goff, will be meeting behind closed doors with members of the city council and the Port of Vancouver. Then on Tuesday, March 25 from 1:00 to 2:00, they are holding a private meeting with 40 business leaders at the Heathman Lodge.

As a public service to the community of Vancouver, it’s worth explaining what Tesoro is—and why their oil train terminal has no place on the Columbia River.

Tesoro’s plan for Vancouver, Washington

Tesoro’s deadly Anacortes fire

  • In April 2010, an explosion at Tesoro’s Anacortes, Washington refinery killed seven workers, leading state regulators to cite the company for 39 “willful” and 5 “serious” violations of health and safety regulations, and slapping the firm with a $2.4 million fine—the largest penalty in state history. In fact, the state’s Department of Labor & Industries called it the “ worst industrial disaster in the 37 years that L&I has been enforcing the state’s workplace safety law.”
  • The US Chemical Safety Board investigation and others found that the company’s lax safety culture led to a “complacent” attitude towards flammable leaks and occasional fires; that Tesoro did not correct a history of recurring leaks and placed workers in dangerous conditions; that Tesoro did not adequately maintain equipment before the lethal blast; and that the accident was rooted in “a deficient refinery safety culture, weak industry standards for safeguarding equipment, and a regulatory system that too often emphasizes activities rather than outcomes.”
  • Tesoro, along with former refinery owner, Shell Oil, settled a wrongful death suit filed by families of six of the workers who died for $39 million. And the US Environmental Protection Agency has opened a criminal investigation into Tesoro’s role in the fatal explosion.

Tesoro’s pollution

Tesoro’s hostility to workers

Tesoro’s pipeline spill

Tesoro’s politics

The Fine Print I:

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The Fine Print II:

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