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Regulators postpone hearing on Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance

Air-quality officials postponed consideration of Exxon Mobil’s proposal to increase refining operations at its Torrance facility until after further review of how such a move would affect homeowners near the plant.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District hearing board was scheduled to review Exxon Mobil’s proposal at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the agency’s offices in Diamond Bar.

Exxon Mobil is seeking approval to use an old pollution-control system in place of one damaged in a February explosion at the Torrance refinery. The old pollution-control equipment releases more pollutants in violation of air-quality standards, but Exxon Mobil said it would reduce emissions in other areas of the plant.

The Torrance plant provides 10% of the state’s refining capacity and 20% of the capacity in Southern California.

Since the February explosion, the Torrance refinery has run at less than 20% of its normal operations, contributing to high gasoline prices in the state and even greater price spikes in the Los Angeles region.

Use of the old pollution-control system would increase Torrance’s operations to about 85%.

Lower crude oil prices have helped ease overall gasoline costs, but the L.A. area’s average gasoline price, at $3.56 a gallon for regular, remains more than $1 higher than the U.S. average.

The California Energy Commission has said that increasing operations at the Torrance facility will help reduce gasoline prices in the L.A. area.

In related news, Exxon adapts to light crude refining in Texas, could more follow?

This article was written by IVAN PENN from The Los Angeles Times and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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