Friday, May 18, 2007

Damned if you do, Damned if you don't.

A couple of weeks ago we ranted about the activist community's hypocritical allegations that "oil companies" were gouging consumers by taking refineries off-line for longer periods of time than necessary.

Now, writing in today's LA Times, Elizabeth Douglass tells the story of Valero, the company that makes 14% of the gasoline in southern California. Valero was scheduled to take its refinery in Wilmington off-line in April for maintenance but the CEC asked Valero to hold off because the resulting supply disruption would exacerbate rising gas prices.

Valero complied. Now the AQMD is fining Valero $5,000 a day because it delayed the planned maintenance that CEC asked it to postpone. Welcome to California.

For me, the pull quote from Douglass's piece is this:

"Although the state badly needs more fuel production, the few refinery expansion projects on the drawing board face fierce neighborhood opposition and California's new goals for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Similar conflicts are becoming acute at the state's ports, the only lifeline to outside supplies of crude oil and gasoline."

As we used to say in grammar school, "quod erat demonstrandum."

Valero can't win with regulators [Los Angeles Times]