Regulators postpone hearing on Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance

A February explosion at the Exxon Mobil Refinery off Crenshaw Boulevard in Torrance left the plant operating at less than 20% of its normal capacity.
(Christina House / For The Times)

Air-quality officials postponed consideration of Exxon Mobil’s proposal to increase refining operations at its Torrance facility until after further review of how such a move would affect homeowners near the plant.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District hearing board was scheduled to review Exxon Mobil’s proposal on Wednesday at the agency’s offices in Diamond Bar. The agency announced Tuesday that the Exxon Mobil hearing had been rescheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 8.

Exxon Mobil is seeking approval to use an old pollution-control system in place of one damaged in a February explosion at the Torrance refinery. The old pollution-control equipment releases more pollutants in violation of air-quality standards, but Exxon Mobil said it would reduce emissions in other areas of the plant.

The Torrance plant provides 10% of the state’s refining capacity and 20% of the capacity in Southern California.


Since the February explosion, the Torrance refinery has run at less than 20% of its normal operations, contributing to high gasoline prices in the state and even greater price spikes in the Los Angeles region.

Putting the old pollution-control system back in operation would increase Torrance’s operations to about 85%.

Lower crude oil prices have helped ease gasoline prices overall, but the L.A. area’s average price, $3.56 a gallon for regular, remains more than $1 higher than the U.S. average.

The California Energy Commission has said that increasing operations at the Torrance facility will help reduce gasoline prices in the L.A. area.


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