smiley emoticon

KPCC Staff
May 03, 2016 – 10:58 AM

A judge cleared the way Monday for ExxonMobil to restart its Torrance Refinery after an environmental group sued to keep it shut.

The Refinery Safety Network had fought the planned reopening, but the judge said that the refinery’s production of gasoline would best serve the public interest and that the company was clear to proceed, according to the Daily Breeze.

ExxonMobil will operate without a fully-functioning pollution-control device, which was destroyed in a major explosion in February 2015.

The company said in an emailed statement to KPCC that it is pleased with the court’s decision.

“We continue to work with the South Coast Air Quality Management District on the approved and stringent safety conditions for restart, so that the Torrance refinery can resume safe and environmentally responsible production of gasoline and other products for California,” the statement said.

At the beginning of April a South Coast Air Quality Management hearing board voted 3-2 in favor of allowing the refinery to restart. The decision came along with stipulations that ExonnMobil would be fined $5 million and required to follow a procedure that would limit emissions at the restart of the refinery.

The Refinery Safety Network isn’t the only group opposed to the restart. South Bay Los Angeles 350 Climate Action Group also opposed the decision, stating its objections during public comment at an AQMD meeting.