TRAA Science Advisory Panel’s Follow-up Letter to Governor Gavin Newsom


August 12, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Newsom:

The gargantuan explosion in Beirut was a stark reminder that industrial accidents don’t wait for the Covid-19 pandemic to end. The New York Times reported yesterday in its article:

Lebanon’s Leaders Were Warned in July about Explosives at Port

“Lebanese security officials warned the prime minister and president last month that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in Beirut’s port posed a security risk and could destroy the capital if it exploded, according to documents seen by Reuters and senior security sources.

“Just over two weeks later, the industrial chemicals went up in a massive blast that obliterated most of the port and swathes of the capital, killed at least 163 people, injured 6,000 and destroyed 6,000 buildings, according to municipal authorities.”

As catastrophic as the Beirut explosion was, it pales compared with the potential loss of tens of thousands of lives from the accidental release of hydrogen fluoride (HF) from one of the two South Bay refineries that use it. And like Lebanon, experts here have been warning elected officials about the perils of HF, but for three decades — while refineries have regularly exploded across the nation.

We urge you to take action on the attached letter we sent you on the 5th anniversary of the Torrance Refinery explosion, which lays out the fraudulently false, deceptive assertions and deeply flawed analyses that allow the refineries to continue to use HF, when vastly safer alternatives are available.

Charles Clendening, Ph.D.
James Eninger, Ph.D.
Nahum Gat, Ph.D.
George Harpole, Ph.D.
Judith Scott, M.S., former manager
—–TRW Chemical Technology Dept.
Christopher Shih, Ph.D.

TRAA Science Advisory Panel
4733 Torrance Blvd. #200
Torrance CA 90503

California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra
Nick Green, Reporter for the Daily Breeze
Jennifer Lu, Data Journalist at the Los Angeles Times
Sharon McNary, Infrastructure Correspondent for KPCC in Southern California
Susan Phillips, Energy/Environment Reporter for WHYY in Philadelphia