Tesoro refinery in Carson. Photo via opstatic.com/

Members of a coalition of environmental, labor, health and social justice groups demonstrated Friday against the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s approval of Tesoro Corp.’s acquisition of Western Refining and the expansion of a refinery near Wilmington, Long Beach and Carson, saying the area potentially affected is populated mostly by people of color.

Protesters gathered about 9 a.m. at AQMD headquarters, 21865 E. Copley Drive, according to Jack Eidt of SoCal 350 Climate Action.

The demonstrators are “calling on AQMD to consider a more comprehensive environmental analysis that would take into account numerous health and safety concerns voiced by not only the marchers, but the three mayors of Los Angeles, Carson, and Long Beach,” Eidt said in a statement.

“The approval — which represents a stark departure from California’s world-renowned leadership on climate change and clean energy — comes despite weak environmental review and impacts that span not just the Los Angeles area but the Pacific Coast,” Eidt said.

The area surrounding the project — Wilmington, Long Beach, and Carson — includes five refineries; the Long Beach (710) Freeway and the Harbor (110) Freeway; the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach; and “several other major pollution sources,” Eidt said, adding that 90 percent of the area’s population consists of people of color.

“Over the past three years, local residents have raised concerns about the impacts of current pollution and their apprehension about bringing additional pollution to the community,” Eidt said. “Despite participating through AQMD’s public engagement process, their concerns were overlooked.”

–City News Service

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