Torrance neighbors fearful for Exxon Mobil re-opening

Exxon Mobil is set to reopen its refinery in Torrance this weekend, more than a year after a fire and explosion forced it to shut down. 

The restart will happen sometime after 7 p.m. Saturday and before 7 a.m. Sunday. 

The image of white ash covering their neighborhood after an explosion last year injured multiple people is still fresh in the minds of neighbors of the Exxon Torrance plant. 

The company used flyers to announce the refinery will reopen this weekend.

Exxon Mobil says unharmful particulate matter emissions are expected to increase during the first six hours.

But neighbors like Maureen Mauk with FLARE (Families lobbying against refinery exposures) say they have doubts.

They want Exxon Mobil to give them more real-time information about what it’s doing 

"The closest air quality monitoring stations are in Compton and Long Beach and we are working hard to pursue real time measures that the public can access in the South Bay," says Mauk. 

An Exxon spokesperson  e-mailed us saying the re-start has been thoroughly evaluated by the Air Quality Management District and are consistent with EPA rules. 

Still, people say they have concerns that go even beyond the reopening. 

"The refinery here in Torrance is one of the two refineries in California that still utilize hydrofluoric acid. It's one of the most dangerous compounds, it's not something that's necessary to be used," says Mauk. 

AQMD says it’s currently looking into alternatives to the hydrofluoric acid.

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