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Consumer Watchdog Asks Legislature to Better Protect Public From Evergreen Oil

NEWARK PATCH (NJ)

A letter was issued to state senators asking for "for an examination of the years-long failure of the Department of Toxic Substances Control to protect communities from dangerous industries."

A Newark refinery was identified by Consumer Watchdog as an example of a "dangerous industry" that the group says the state Department of Toxic Substances Control has failed to efficiently supervise for the sake of public health and safety concerns.

The press release issued by PR News Wire states:

In a letter to state senators, Consumer Watchdog called for an examination of the years-long failure of the Department of Toxic Substances Control to protect communities from dangerous industries near homes and schools. Senators have an opportunity to ask questions about these problems at today's Rules Committee confirmation hearing for Gov. Jerry Brown's appointee to head the Department of Toxic Substances Control.

The refinery listed within the letter is Evergreen Oil Refinery. Located at 6880 Smith Ave., Evergreen Oil is located 0.6 miles from Bunker Elementary School and 2 miles away from Newark Memorial High School.

In the letter to state senators, Consumer Watchdog states:

This company has been cited repeatedly for cracked and inadequate waste storage areas, failure to track contaminated petroleum waste both coming in and going out, careless soil contamination and careless omissions in its own inspection system. Yet it was fined less than $45,000 (correction: $60,000) under six separate consent agreements with DTSC between 2006 and 2011. A burst pipe that spewed hot waste oil and an ensuing large blaze that endangered employees and the neighborhood shut down much of the facility last year. The facility has partially reopened, even though the operating portion lacks final local permits.

Evergreen Oil Refinery representatives did not issue a comment on the report Wednesday night.

The letter goes on to state that the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s key problems are lack of transparency, disconnection between inspection and enforcement, weak out-of-court settlements and a “corruption of process” at the local level.

Click here to read the full press release. See the attached PDF to read the letter from Consumer Watchdog.

Last month, Alameda County fire personnel, including a hazardous materials team, attended to a smoking barrel at Evergreen Oil, an Alameda County fire battalion chief said.

In March 2011, a two-alarm fire at the refinery injured one employee. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has previously fined the company for 19 health and safety violations. According to Cal/OSHA officials, as of late March 2011 Evergreen Oil was fined $5,095 for 19 health and safety violations uncovered during an investigation of a February 2007 complaint.