Op-Ed: We can’t afford to shutter California’s aging oil refineries yet
Share via e-mail
Oil refineries are as much a part of San Diego as the beaches
San Diego is the home of many oil refineries, but it has one of the largest refineries that export crude oil to destinations all over the world.
We’re still reeling from the fact that we were caught off guard by the BP oil spill last April—and were told that our refineries and tanks were safe (despite a series of leaks that came up from the ocean). How wrong we were. Now that the refineries have been cleaned up, will we finally face the reality that it was all just a big mistake?
Will we continue to be in business at these aging refineries, or will we shut them down? That seems like a tough question to answer in advance.
We’re not even sure when all of the refineries will be gone—and some even older refineries have been around for a long time, since the 1800s. All we know right now is that the oil industry needs to invest more money in refurbishing older refineries.
But let’s imagine a scenario where the oil industry gets its way: They make us shut down our older refineries, and we won’t be able to export crude oil for at least a few more years. That’s an awful, awful scenario.
But why do oil refineries have to shut down anyway?
Two major factors are at play. The first is that refineries are a part of the greater San Diego economy.
We’re losing our oil production and refining capacity, and we’re losing hundreds of manufacturing jobs. The jobs we lose are mostly in manufacturing, but they’re also in the supply chain.
Our oil refineries depend on our labor force. We depend on their goods. We depend