Board seeks more refinery oversight after Anacortes blast

SEATTLE — Federal officials are recommending tougher state and federal oversight of oil refineries after investigating a 2010 explosion and fire at a Tesoro Corp. refinery in Anacortes that killed seven workers.

In the draft report released late Wednesday, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board says Washington state should implement a more proactive safety system to prevent future accidents. It also recommends that regulators audit petroleum refineries to prevent the kind of equipment failure that occurred at the Tesoro facility.

The report says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should work with the industry to come up with a new regulation requiring chemical facilities to make their operations inherently safer.

In a statement, Tesoro says it “respectfully disagrees” with several findings in the draft report but will consider final recommendations “in light of the steps we have taken and are continuing to take to improve the safety of our facilities.”

The Chemical Safety Board will present its findings at a public listening session in Anacortes on Thursday. The public will have 45 days to comment.

The April 2, 2010, blast was the deadliest refinery accident in the U.S. since 2005.

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