It’s been a couple of months since we last checked to see what oil refiner Tesoro has been up to. During that time, there have been three significant events to report:
A power outage at the Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery prompted a visit from a Contra Costa County Health Services Department haz-mat team and the issuance of a level 2 alert after fireballs had shot up from flaring stacks around the facility this week.
County officials once again issued a health warning for surrounding communities, and the fire was extinguished after about 3 hours. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries to the plant’s workers, although one was treated on-site for a minor burn to his hand and another was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
2.) Last week, a fire broke out at Tesoro’s refinery in Mandan, North Dakota generating, “an alarming cloud of black smoke.” (A local TV station has video footage of the plume, and it is, indeed, alarming.) Although the fire burned for more than 2 hours in “a highly flammable area” there were no injuries.
3.) Today we learned that Tesoro is appealing the $2.39 million fine it received for the April 2010 explosion that killed 7 workers at its Anacortes, Washington facility. In the aftermath of the deadly refinery blaze, the company was cited for “39 willful and five serious violations of state workplace safety and health regulations.” As a point of reference, Tesoro pulled down $56 million in net earnings in the 3rd quarter of 2010; so they are appealing a fine that is worth only about 3 or 4 days of earnings for them.