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State Lawmakers Introduce Bills In Response To Chevron Refinery Fire

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Stephen Schiller/Flickr

Oil refineries and other large industrial operations may face steeper fines for air pollution under a new bill in the state legislature. The proposal from State Senator Loni Hancock could quadruple penalties for air pollution.  

Hancock, who represents Berkeley, said she was inspired to raise fines after the fire at Chevron's Richmond refinery last August.

"If fines are just the cost of doing business and you have companies without a culture of safety, and you have repeated violations, something must be done," she said.

Chevron has said it's paid nearly ten million dollars to local agencies and hospitals, and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health levied nearly a million dollars in fines.

Hancock's bill would raise the possible air pollution fine for a day-long violation from $25,000 to $100,000.

Assemblyowman Nancy Skinner also introduced a Chevron-related bill, which would require companies to address safety complaints from the state, even while pursuing appeals.

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