Less than two months after Kern County supervisors approved the Big West of California refinery expansion, a Shafter-based group that advocates for air quality has filed a lawsuit saying the county should have done more to mitigation pollution from the refinery.
The Association of Irritated Residents, represented by the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, says county planning staff didn’t appropriately disclose or mitigate the project’s impact on air and water quality and global warming as required under state law.
Specifically, the association says the county has allowed Big West to use outdated air pollution credits to offset emissions from the project instead of requiring the refinery to install equipment on site to reduce pollution.
It also says the project’s global warming emissions weren’t properly mitigated and pointed to the supervisors’ last-minute decision to allow Big West to continue letting contractors use diluted hydrofluoric acid for injection well maintenance.
“The Board of Supervisors should promote green jobs that would make our county a leader in energy reform,” said AIR’s president, Tom Frantz, in a news release. “Instead, they have allowed Big Oil to emit more air pollution and more global warming gas.”
The group has sued the county, the regional air district and dairy owners numerous times in recent years. AIR was part of a coalition including labor unions represented by a Bay Area law firm that commented extensively on the environmental review of the refinery project. The labor unions were not named as parties to the lawsuit in the news release.