Friday, December 10, 2010
SAN DIEGO Chevron Corp. is seeking a new long-term lease for its oil terminal in the Santa Monica Bay, a move opposed by environmentalists who worry about an oil spill.
The California State Lands Commission was expected to vote Friday in San Diego on a proposed lease agreement that would allow the company to pump oil through underwater pipelines to a refinery on shore through 2040.
In the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, environmental groups are urging the commission to consider a shorter lease term of no more than 10 years. Environmentalists also
want some of the tanker traffic to be rerouted from the terminal in El Segundo to the Port of Los Angeles to lower the risk of a significant spill in Santa Monica Bay.
An environmental review conducted for the lease proposal found "a reasonable possibility" of an oil spill occurring during the 30-year lease period.
"If a spill were to happen on a large scale, it would be catastrophic to our sensitive marine resources and thriving coastal economy," Sarah Sikich, coastal resources director for the Santa
Monica environmental group Heal the Bay, told the Los Angeles Times.
Chevron has said it has safeguards against spills.
"Clearly, Santa Monica Bay is an important asset for the region, and we understand that in the same way that the environmental community does," said Chevron public affairs manager
Rod Spackman. "But that shouldn't mean that we should not be able to continue to operate there under the most rigorous standards. ... That would be unfair, given our track record."
The proposed deal would charge Chevron a base rent of $1.3 million a year to lease the state-controlled tidelands for its ocean terminal.
The oil company said its terminal brings in about 240,000 barrels of crude oil a day that is processed into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
Last year, the three-member panel approved a 30-year lease for Chevron's oil refinery in Richmond.