Friday, July 25, 2014

San Pedro gas facility to pay $260K for risk management violations

San Pedro gas facility to pay $260K for risk management violations

Tanks at the Rancho LPG site loom in the background of the North San Pedro neighborhood near Westmont Drive. Oct. 24, 2010. File photo. (Scott Varley / Staff Photographer)
Rancho LPG has agreed to pay the federal government $260,000 in civil penalties to settle claims of risk management violations at its San Pedro gas facility, a punishment critics characterized as a slap on the wrist.
Numerous violations related to the Clean Air Act, including potential seismic stresses and failure to properly inspect and test equipment, were uncovered by an Environmental Protection Agency investigation that began in 2010.
Rancho LPG primarily stores large amounts of butane and propane at the site. For years, residents have fought to get rid of the tanks, warning that one misstep with the millions of gallons of explosive chemicals on site could lead to the decimation of nearby residential areas.
The EPA announced Thursday that the facility at 2110 N. Gaffey St. has now resolved its noncompliance issues with risk management regulations. Rancho LPG, which has disputed the EPA’s claims, said Thursday that it believes it has always been in compliance with Clean Air Act regulations.
“Rancho LPG and the EPA have agreed to settle these disputed claims for approximately $260,000 rather than expending resources contesting the allegations,” Rancho LPG said in a statement.
The EPA, however, said the facility addressed its violations and now adheres to risk management plan requirements.
During its investigation, the EPA found the facility did not properly evaluate potential seismic stresses at the site, failed to analyze the potential loss of its water supply in the event of an earthquake and failed to properly inspect and test equipment, including tanks and drain systems.
“When a company handling high-risk materials operates in close proximity to a neighboring community, it’s critical to take steps to safeguard the residents,” said EPA spokesman Jared Blumenfeld.
According to the EPA, the company estimates it has spent $7.2 million since the investigation for new safety controls, tank inspections, seismic upgrades and improved coordination with local emergency responders.
Rancho LPG, which acquired the facility in 2008, said it has been audited more than 45 times by state and federal agencies since 2010 and continues to “perform well” in the audits since it completed safety improvements.
“We take pride in the fact that the facility has not had a significant release, incident or accident in its 40-year operating history,” the company said.
But local residents aren’t convinced.
“All of us are outraged by this,” said Janet Gunter of the San Pedro and Peninsula Homeowners United. “This really is less than a slap on the wrist to the company. It’s highly irresponsible of the EPA to respond to this high-risk situation we’re being exposed to in such a negligible way.”
Gunter said the penalty is a “meaningless gesture” that gives residents the illusion that the facility is now safe.
“This clearly illustrates that they have never been safe, and they continue to operate without being safe,” she said. “It’s frightening.”
Residents have long emphasized that the facility, which straddles both sides of the active Palos Verdes Fault, could cause widespread damage to homes and schools just blocks away and across the South Bay if an earthquake hits or terrorists strike.
“We’re sitting on a time bomb,” Gunter said. “Unfortunately, no one seems to care about this. It’s frightening. ... The bottom line is we are literally playing with fire.”
U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn, who represents San Pedro, said she repeatedly requested an investigation into the Rancho LPG facility.
“While this in no way resolves concerns about this facility in the community, this enforcement action has resulted in Rancho LPG complying with federal safety laws and a $260,000 fine,” she said Thursday. “Although these families will not be safe until the tanks are moved, EPA’s actions today minimize some of the risk for the community.”
Also on Thursday, the EPA opened a public comment period on potential revisions to its Risk Management Program regulations to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities and reduce the risk of hazardous chemicals to workers and communities. During the 90-day period, EPA is seeking comment on additional risk-management program elements, such as safer technology, emergency drills, facility location risks, etc., and is asking for information about safety management approaches that will enhance public safety and aid emergency personnel to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies.
To view the request for information and provide public comment, visit www.epa.gov/emergencies/eo_improving_chem_fac.htm.

WATERFRONT MOVIE NIGHT, TRAFFIC ALERT FOR 5 POINTS AND MORE

LA 15th Council District
Ivette --


CONSTRUCTION OF MONITOR PARK IN WATTS ON SCHEDULE

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This week construction crews continued work on the new Monitor Park in Watts by pouring concrete, creatinging skate park at Monitor St. and 114th. The park is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year. "This park is being custom built to meet the custom needs of the surrounding community. It will be beautiful," said Councilman Joe Buscaino.



CELEBRATING 150 OF THE BANNING MUSEUM IN WILMINGTON

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CENTURY CRUNCH IS THIS WEEKEND

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Century Crunch is this weekend, July 25-28, and those planning to travel to LAX are being reminded that Century Boulevard at Aviation Boulevard will be closed for 57 hours so that an old railroad bridge can be demolished and replaced by a new state-of-the-art light-rail station for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project.
The closure will begin at 9 p.m. Friday, July 25 and end at 6 a.m. Monday, July 28. The best advice is to avoid the area but for those who must reach the airport, there are options.
Public transit is the best way to avoid what could be a difficult drive. Metro has five bus lines (102, 111, 117, 232 and 120) and the Metro Green Line serving LAX. Take the Green Line to Aviation/LAX Station. Go downstairs and catch the free LAX “G” shuttle. It serves all terminals. Go to metro.net for details.
The LAX FlyAway runs regular service to the airport, as do other municipal lines. The FlyAway links to the airport from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, the Metro Expo LaBrea Station, Van Nuys, Westwood and Santa Monica. For FlyAway details go to lawa.org/flyaway. Municipal lines that serve LAX include Beach Cities Transit, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus and Culver City Bus. Go to their websites for details.
Century Boulevard is a major artery to Los Angeles International Airport with more than 92,000 motorists traveling through the Century and Aviation boulevards intersection daily so it is imperative that drivers plan ahead embarking on a trip to the airport during Century Crunch weekend.
If you absolutely must drive to LAX, allow extra time, check real-time traffic conditions by calling 511 on your phone or go to go511.com on your computer or mobile device. And consider this detour:
Coming from the south: Drive north on the I-405 freeway, head west on the 105 freeway, exit at Sepulveda Boulevard and go north to LAX. Coming from the east on the I-105 freeway, exit north on Sepulveda to LAX.
Coming from the north: Drive south on the I-405 freeway and exit at either Howard Hughes Parkway or La Tijera Boulevard. At Sepulveda Boulevard head south to LAX.
The $2.058 billion Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project is an 8.5-mile light-rail line that will connect the Green Line with the Expo Line. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is expected to open in 2019.


COMMUNITY CLEANUP PLANNED AT ALAMA PARK IN SAN PEDRO

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VIDEO THROWBACK: BEHIND THE SCENES IN CITY HALL WITH COUNCILMAN BUSCAINO

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PHOTO OF THE WEEK

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Recently the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce hosted their Annual Installation & Awards Night at the Banning Mansion. Themed "Gilligan's Island", Board President Patrick Wilson played the role of the Skipper while the Host of the night, "Ginger" was played by board member Amy Grat. Wilson's two sons are also featured in the picture capturing the role Gilligan. The event was attended by Councilman Buscaino's Wilmington Deputy Gabriela Medina who came as "Mary Anne."


Joe Buscaino, 15th Council District
http://www.la15th.com/
NORTHWEST SAN PEDRO NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL


L.A. Waterfront Movie Night at the new Downtown San Pedro Harbor - August 1st
In our email yesterday, we forgot to give you the date of the Free Movie Night on the LA Waterfront - San Pedro: It is on Friday, August 1, 2014.
Family Activities: 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Movie Showtime: 8 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Location: Downtown San Pedro Harbor Water Cut
Event Details: Enjoy a free showing of the 1988 movie "Big"
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Upcoming Sewer Construction at 5 Points

Delta Pipelines will be starting construction on a new sewer project starting at the intersection of Vermont and N Palos Verdes Drive on Monday, August 4th between 9am-3:30pm. This project will continue in phases throughout the 5 points intersection, westerly towards Rolling Hills Prep, expecting to be completed within eight weeks. Below is a breakdown of the phases, and the location of the work. 

Phase 1 - Middle of intersection of Vermont & PV Drive North. Several movements and turns will be prohibited due to work in the middle of the intersection

Phase 2:  Left turn pocket on PV North to WB Anaheim Street will be closed. Work would be completed on weekdays, between 9am and 3:30pm

Phase 3- Closure of PV Dr North EB #1 and 2 lanes for construction of sewer line adjacent to median. Work hours would be 9am to 3:30 pm weekdays. 

Phase 4- Closure of PV Drive North EB #2 and 3 lanes for connection to go across PV North into Vet Housing project. Work hours are from 9 am to 3:30 pm weekdays.

Delta Pipelines will be placing construction notification signs on Monday, July 28th, making drivers and local residents aware of the upcoming disruptions. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know as soon as possible. Thank you in advance, and I apologize for the inconvenience.





Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, 10am
Small Business Entrepreneurship: Doing Business in LA
PRESENTED BY THE MAYOR'S OFFICE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND THE LOS ANGELES PUBLIC LIBRARY.
Held at the San Pedro Public Library.  View details here.

Mailing Address:
NW San Pedro Neighborhood Council
638 S. Beacon Street, Box 688
San Pedro, CA 90731
Phone Contact: (310)-732-4522


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

West Coast ports remain open as ILWU continues negotiations for new deal

West Coast ports remain open as ILWU continues negotiations for new deal

By DON McINTOSH, Associate Editor
Though the six-year union contract between International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the multi-employer Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) expired July 1, union members continue to load and unload ships on West Coast ports. Neither side is publicly discussing progress in the talks, which have been under way since May 12. Key bargaining issues include how to deal with new technologies like robotics that will reduce the need for workers, and how to maintain health benefits after 2018, when the Affordable Care Act’s so-called “Cadillac” tax kicks in.
The ILWU-PMA contract covers nearly 20,000 longshore and clerk members at 29 West Coast ports. It’s the largest contract for the 37,000-member union, which represents dock workers in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii.
The PMA bargaining takes place as ILWU members remain locked out of grain export terminals in Portland, Vancouver, and Seattle. The companies operating those terminals, which have locked out ILWU members since February 2013, aren’t part of the PMA. The grain terminal operators are demanding that ILWU give them the same concessions it gave to their competitor EGT in Longview, Washington. Those concessions include 12-hour shifts without overtime pay, the right to have managers run the control room, a company-approved hiring list separate from the regular ILWU hiring hall, and the right of employers to do union work in the event of a work stoppage.
Fears that PMA might ask for the same concessions have not been borne out, however. Neither ILWU nor PMA appeared to be getting ready for a strike or lockout. The two sides have issued joint statements about the negotiations, without going into detail. On July 7, the sides announced a three-day break from negotiations while ILWU took part in further negotiations with the Northwest grain exporters.
ILWU kept negotiating with PMA past the contract expiration in 2008, too, and the two sides were able to reach an agreement that preserved health benefits, gave raises of $5 an hour over six years, and lessened the impact of technological change on members. That settlement followed much-more-heated bargaining in 2002, which culminated in PMA employers locking out ILWU members for 10 days — until then-President George W. Bush asked a federal court to order employers to end the lockout.
This year’s ILWU bargaining positions at the PMA negotiations were determined in February and March at a two-week meeting in San Francisco of delegates from every West Coast port. At that meeting, delegates heard from representatives of dockworker unions from around the world, who pledged their support in the event of a dispute. The meeting established that priorities include fair raises, and maintaining health care and retirement benefits.
“Longshore members and clerks have made it clear that they want a contract with stronger safety provisions, more secure benefits, greater respect for ILWU jurisdiction, and a reasonable approach to new technology,” said ILWU President Bob McEllrath in the March 2014 issue of The Dispatcher, ILWU’s newspaper.
Technological change is once again threatening to decimate ILWU ranks. A case in point: In June, 180 dockworkers in Sydney, Australia, were notified they’d be laid off after their employer deploys driverless robots to take over cargo handling.
ILWU has grappled before with the challenge of technology: Starting in the 1960s, containerization diminished the need for ILWU members’ labor. The union responded by negotiating its Mechanization and Modernization Agreement in 1960, in which employers committed to give displaced members the work of maintaining and repairing the technologies that replaced them. Along similar lines, the 2002 ILWU contract opened the docks to bar scanners, automated manifest systems and GPS technology. The 2008 agreement permitted automated stacking cranes. In each case, maintenance and repair work was assigned to ILWU members to offset the job losses from new technologies, with some exceptions: The contract agreed that a number of terminals would be “red-circled,” meaning ILWU members would not do the work of maintaining and repairing cargo-handling equipment there. The arrangement sometimes put ILWU in competition with other unions. ILWU cited jurisdictional disputes as a primary factor in its decision to disaffiliate from the AFL-CIO in August 2013.
Preserving health insurance is another big priority. PMA’s health plan is one of the last of the good union health plans, with the employer picking up substantially all health care costs for employees and their dependents, and patients paying just $1 for prescriptions. But starting in 2018, under the 2010  Affordable Care Act (also referred to as Obamacare), employers would have to pay a 40 percent excise tax on the amount over $27,500 a year for family coverage. To avoid that draconian tax, employers around the country are seeking to make benefits less generous, shifting costs to workers.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

CRIME UPDATE

CRIME ALERT! 8 new crimes
TypeDescriptionCase #LocationAgencyDateMap It
Theft/LarcenyTHEFT - PETTY (plain theft-petty) ($950 & under)140115603600 W 7TH STLos Angeles Police6/30/2014 3:10:00 PMMap It
Theft/LarcenyTHEFT-GRAND (plain theft-grand) $950.01 & over (or $100 if fowl, livestock, produce, etc.)140511491200 S GRAND AVLos Angeles Police6/30/2014 1:00:00 AMMap It
BurglaryBURGLARY (entry of structure w/intent to commit theft or a felony) INCLUDES VESSELS1405114731100 W 23RD STLos Angeles Police6/30/2014 12:30:00 AMMap It
Theft/LarcenyTHEFT - PETTY (plain theft-petty) ($950 & under)1405114651700 N GAFFEY STLos Angeles Police6/29/2014 8:00:00 PMMap It
Vehicle Break-In/TheftTHEFT FROM VEHICLE - PETTY ($950 & under)1405114701500 W 16TH STLos Angeles Police6/27/2014 11:00:00 PMMap It
Vehicle Break-In/TheftBURGLARY FROM VEHICLE - ATTEMPTED140511460NAGOYA / SAMPSONLos Angeles Police6/27/2014 7:20:00 PMMap It
RobberyROBBERY (taking property of another by means of force or fear)1405113761100 N GAFFEY STLos Angeles Police6/27/2014 6:15:00 PMMap It
BurglaryBURGLARY (entry of structure w/intent to commit theft or a felony) INCLUDES VESSELS140115586100 W 9TH STLos Angeles Police6/25/2014 10:14:00 AMMap It

Monday, June 30, 2014

CRIME UPDATE


CrimeMapping.com
CRIME ALERT! 7 new crimes
TypeDescriptionCase #LocationAgencyDateMap It
Theft/LarcenyTHEFT - PETTY (plain theft-petty) ($950 & under)140511445200 N HARBOR BLLos Angeles Police6/29/2014 2:10:00 PMMap It
Vehicle Break-In/TheftBURGLARY FROM VEHICLE140511444700 S CABRILLO AVLos Angeles Police6/28/2014 11:00:00 PMMap It
AssaultASSAULT WITH DEADLY WEAPON (ADW) (likely to produce great bodily injury)1405114211100 W 24TH STLos Angeles Police6/28/2014 9:40:00 PMMap It
BurglaryBURGLARY (entry of structure w/intent to commit theft or a felony) INCLUDES VESSELS1405114391000 W 23RD STLos Angeles Police6/28/2014 9:00:00 PMMap It
Theft/LarcenyTHEFT - PETTY (plain theft-petty) ($950 & under)142012416200 N WESTERN AVLos Angeles Police6/28/2014 7:00:00 PMMap It
Theft/LarcenyTHEFT - PETTY (plain theft-petty) ($950 & under)140511417500 S GAFFEY STLos Angeles Police6/28/2014 4:40:00 PMMap It
Vehicle Break-In/TheftVEHICLE BURGLARY: Truck/Cargo Van Burglary914-02070-174628900 BLOCK WESTERN AVERancho Palos Verdes6/22/2014 3:15:00 PMMap It
TypeDescriptionCase #LocationAgencyDateMap It
Theft/LarcenyTHEFT - PETTY (plain theft-petty) ($950 & under)1405113771100 N GAFFEY STLos Angeles Police6/27/2014 6:15:00 PMMap It
Vehicle Break-In/TheftTHEFT FROM VEHICLE - PETTY ($950 & under)140511385700 S CENTRE STLos Angeles Police6/26/2014 11:00:00 AMMap It
BurglaryBURGLARY (entry of structure w/intent to commit theft or a felony) INCLUDES VESSELS140511404700 W 8TH STLos Angeles Police6/25/2014 5:00:00 PMMap It
TypeDescriptionCase #LocationAgencyDateMap It
Theft/LarcenySHOPLIFTING - PETTY THEFT ($950 & under)140115419700 W 7TH STLos Angeles Police6/27/2014 3:30:00 PMMap It
Theft/LarcenySHOPLIFTING - PETTY THEFT ($950 & under)140115409700 W 7TH STLos Angeles Police6/27/2014 3:00:00 PMMap It
Theft/LarcenySHOPLIFTING - PETTY THEFT ($950 & under)140115427700 W 7TH STLos Angeles Police6/27/2014 11:00:00 AMMap It
BurglaryBURGLARY (entry of structure w/intent to commit theft or a felony) INCLUDES VESSELS1405113421000 W PASEO DEL MARLos Angeles Police6/27/2014 3:50:00 AMMap It
Motor Vehicle TheftVEHICLE, STOLEN1405113651000 W 8TH STLos Angeles Police6/26/2014 11:00:00 PMMap It
Theft/LarcenyTHEFT - PETTY (plain theft-petty) ($950 & under)1405113371700 N GAFFEY STLos Angeles Police6/26/2014 8:12:00 PMMap It
Vehicle Break-In/TheftTHEFT FROM VEHICLE - PETTY ($950 & under)140115429200 W 7TH STLos Angeles Police6/26/2014 11:43:00 AMMap It
Motor Vehicle TheftGRAND THEFT VEHICLE (GTA): Automobile/Passenger Van914-09765-2140300 BLOCK 13TH STLos Angeles County Sheriff (unincorp.)6/25/2014 7:39:00 AMMap It
Sex CrimesRAPE, ATTEMPTED1405113347TH / CABRILLOLos Angeles Police6/25/2014 12:01:00 AMMap It
BurglaryBURGLARY (entry of structure w/intent to commit theft or a felony) INCLUDES VESSELS140511349700 W 10TH STLos Angeles Police6/23/2014 12:00:00 PMMap It