Torrance councilman warns firing top AQMD official could affect safety review at ExxonMobil refinery

Torrance Councilman Tim Goodrich has released a letter opposing the possible firing of the top administrator at the region’s air pollution watchdog, believing it could disrupt efforts to improve safety at the ExxonMobil refinery in the wake of last year’s blast.

http://www.dailybreeze.com/environment-and-nature/20160303/torrance-councilman-warns-firing-top-aqmd-official-could-affect-safety-review-at-exxonmobil-refinery

Torrance Councilman Tim Goodrich has released a letter opposing the possible firing of the top administrator at the region’s air pollution watchdog, believing it could disrupt efforts to improve safety at the ExxonMobil refinery in the wake of last year’s blast.

The board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District will decide Friday whether to oust Executive Officer Barry Wallerstein, a move by the Republican-majority board to make the regulator more business-friendly.

But in his letter to the board released Thursday, Goodrich voiced concerns that “continuity is critical” to addressing safety issues at the plant, including possibly discontinuing the use of potentially lethal hydrofluoric acid.

“SCAQMD has been especially helpful by agreeing to study safer alternatives to modified HF,” he wrote. “However, I am concerned that the firing of AQMD’s director is a move in the wrong direction. I fear that such a major disruption at the AQMD could have negative impacts on the work on which we are currently cooperating.”

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