Tesoro refinery in Carson. Photo via opstatic.com/
Tesoro refinery in Carson. Photo via opstatic.com/

A crowd estimated at 1,000 to 2,000 people gathered in front of the Tesoro Oil Refinery Saturday to protest what they called the facility’s planned expansion.

The People’s Climate March in L.A. Harbor is being held in conjunction with events nationwide protesting the United States’ reliance on fossil fuels and calling attention to the issue of climate change.

The Wilmington event is sponsored by dozens of local community groups. Actress Jane Fonda, environmental activist Robert Kennedy Jr. and state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon are among the speakers scheduled to address the crowd in a rally that began at 11 a.m. at the facility at 1331 Eubank Ave. A march down Pacific Coast Highway was scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m.

Organizers say they’re protesting Tesoro’s merger/expansion with BP Carson and what they call a plan to double the importation of crude oil from Canada and North Dakota.

“The environmental analysis is insufficient, frankly. They’re underestimating the impacts on the community and that’s the big reason we’re out here,” said Jack Eidt of SoCal 350 Climate Action, who stressed the high number of pollution sources in the South Bay. “We’ve got 5 refineries and 2 major ports in this area … we don’t need to be expanding more refineries,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Tesoro said the project is an integration of their existing Carson and Wilmington operations and does not represent an expansion, but will increase the refinery’s crude-oil processing capacity by about 2 percent.

“The new and replacement crude oil storage tanks, which are one of the main concerns we have heard, are being built in areas of Tesoro’s property where tanks already exist; we aren’t constructing a new terminal,” Brissa Sotelo, Tesoro’s manager for Southern California public and governmental affairs, told City News Service.

Sotelo added that the larger storage tanks will allow ships carrying the fuel to make fewer dock trips to unload their cargo, which in turn helps the environment by reducing ship emissions.

—City News Service

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