Chevron’s refinery in Richmond, CA, caught fire last night, forcing area residents to “shelter in place” and sending dozens to hospitals with smoke inhalation. According to the local news affiliate:
The fire started at the refinery’s “4 Crude Unit” at 6:15 p.m. Monday, according to a statement from Chevron. The company said a small leak in the diesel processing unit grew and caught fire.
A shot time later, at least two steady eruptions of flame were visible from CBS 5 cameras. A pair of thick plumes of smoke were also rising into the skies of the East Bay well into the night.
Refinery officials were quick to apologize for “inconveniencing our neighbors.” Meanwhile, a midnight deadline expired for Chevron to pay $19 billion in damages to Ecuador for environmental damages in the Amazon region.
Oil prices are expected to rise as a consequence of the refinery fire, although Chevron will presumably continue to earn $85 million per day in profits (not gross earnings, profits) — an amount which could pay many times over for the hospital treatment of Bay Area residents suffering from smoke inhalation, but which presumably won’t.
Meanwhile, Mitt Rommey continues to explain to wind energy supporters in his own party why wind energy tax credits are really dangerous to America. Because, you see, the free market should be allowed to pick the winners in the energy wars. And if a few grandmothers with lung disease in the Bay Area are losers? Well, you can’t make a free market without killing a few 99%ers.