AQMD Bows to Industry, Says No HF Ban

On June 22, the AQMD Refinery Committee voted 3-2 to allow tons of toxic volatile hydrogen fluoride (HF) to remain at two local refineries, Torrance PBF and Wilmington Valero. The refineries will add more water sprays, pumps, sensors, and video displays, and declare that it makes us safe. Community groups and individuals made excellent presentations, but it was clear this was a well-organized campaign by the refineries and their allies.

The committee directed AQMD staff to write a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with each refinery, for the refineries to theoretically keep people in the community safe from “irreversible health effects” if there was a 1-inch hole in an HF tank. If a leak was bigger, or lasted for longer than 10 minutes, or medical care delayed (think earthquake), people could be dead instead of having “reversible” health effects like an irregular heartbeat or fluid buildup in the lungs. The only way to be truly safe from HF is for it to be gone.

The full AQMD Board will vote on this in November. In the meantime, we need to convince everybody how criminally absurd this is. To help, Email us at

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