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A recent Daily Breeze article revealed that the owners of the Torrance refinery more than tripled their spending on lobbyists last year. They’re trying to drown out our message – that it’s time to ban MHF. We’ve raised our voices, too. At farmer’s markets, city council meetings, and online, we’ve shown that MHF is just as dangerous to our population as regular HF. (Click here to see a test leak of HF under typical refinery storage conditions.) We’ve got a lot of important events coming up, including local elections, Earth Day, and the AQMD meeting. It’s time to get loud. Could you help us turn a whisper into a roar with a PayPal donation?

In the next few days we’re trying to reach $2500 for leaflets and newspaper ads. You may be able to only give a little time (like calling your city council) but with your investment TRAA volunteers can do the leg work and spread the facts needed to mobilize thousands of people. There are lots of ways to contribute – just visit our donations page and action plan for some ideas.

Make your voice heard

This contact form will send your message to every member of the SCAQMD board at once. They expect to make a decision sometime in July 2018. You can use the sample message in the comment field below. Please, personalize your message so that it stands out to the AQMD committee – mention your friends and family at risk in the South Bay. And of course, you can call or send a letter to the board with the contact information here. Thank you for fighting to keep Los Angeles safe!

By using this form you will receive twice-monthly eNewsletters about TRAA’s fight to ban MHF. You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never share your information with anyone apart from the intended recipients.

During times of heavy use, our mailserver will defer delivery by an hour or so. Rest assured, your message will be delivered.

MHF Danger Zones

Public Safety Warning
Torrance (ToRC) refinery: Representation of the ground-hugging acid cloud from 50,000 lb. of MHF acid very nearly released during the 2015 explosion. The (slight) wind that day was to the west. Calm days are the worst case scenario, as it means a denser acid cloud. Much of the county is at risk.
Valero-Wilmington Danger Zone
Wilmington (Valero) refinery: EPA Worst Case Guidelines allow us to estimate the worst possible impact of the release of 55,000 lb. MHF from a single acid settler tank. Serious and irreversible injuries are possible with short-term exposure up to 17 miles from the refinery. Wind determines the exposure.

The Danger of MHF

(Click here to help now) Southern California has a life-threatening problem. We’re at risk from hundreds of tons of one of the world’s most dangerous chemicals. Two refineries in the South Bay (in Torrance and Wilmington) use HydroFluoric acid (HF) in their alkylation process. They are the only refineries in California to use HF; others use a safer chemical. The South Bay refineries claim their HF is safe for the hundreds of thousands in the surrounding community. They add a chemical to HF to “dilute” it, and call it Modified HydroFluoric acid (MHF). But at only one or two additive molecules per hundred, it’s not enough to make a difference. MHF is just as deadly as regular HF. If released, it forms a ground-hugging cloud that can drift for miles, causing injury and death. The refineries’ other mitigation measures, like water sprays and barriers, are also ineffective. Mass casualties can result from an MHF release — wind direction determines who dies.

What’s Being Done

For decades, the South Bay has battled the refineries’ all-too-successful campaign to keep using HF rather than converting to a much safer process, such as is used at Chevron in El Segundo and the other California refineries. Following the massive Torrance refinery explosion in February 2015, which nearly released 50,000 lb of MHF, investigations by the Torrance Refinery Action Alliance (TRAA) and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board uncovered the true threat MHF poses. Now, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is considering Rule 1410 to require HF/MHF replacement with a safer alternative at both refineries. But industry is fighting back with well-financed campaigns. The next few months are critical!

Call to action

Please contact the SCAQMD to make our community safe! The Torrance city council has pledged to follow the regulations set by the SCAQMD board. The SCAQMD staff (which advises the board) agrees with us: MHF acid is nowhere near as safe as the oil industry claims. MHF and regular unmodified HF acid are equally dangerous. In densely-populated Los Angeles, it would be much safer for our refineries to use other alkylation chemicals which are already in use at other refineries in our state. Now the board is reviewing initial concepts for  Rule 1410, and they need to hear from the community that we want this chemical gone! They’re being lobbied hard by the oil industry. We need to lobby them even harder!