Washington Senators, Members of Congress Call for Speedy Completion of Federal Investigation into 2010 Tesoro Explosion

Dec 21, 2012

WASHINGTON—Six members of Washington’s Congressional Delegation today called on federal investigators to complete their investigation into the April 2010 explosion at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes that claimed seven lives.

Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell joined Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Jim McDermott (WA-07), Adam Smith (WA-09), and Suzan DelBene (WA-01), in writing a letter to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board about their delayed investigation. The members wrote:

“As the third anniversary of the event is rapidly nearing, we note with growing concern that the one major report still outstanding is the one being conducted by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.  We are also very dismayed by reports that the Board has redirected personnel and resources from this investigation in order to work on other, more recent accidents and incidents …We ask that you immediately update us in writing on the status of the Board’s report, and urge you to complete this investigation as soon as possible.  Our constituents must not wait any longer to get the information they deserve.”

The full text of the letter follows:

December 21, 2012

The Honorable Rafael Moure-Eraso
Chairman
U.S. Chemical Safety Board
2175 K Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20037

Dear Chairman Moure-Eraso:

On April 2, 2010, seven of our constituents lost their lives after a fire and explosion at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington.  In the 32 months since this horrific incident, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and the Tesoro Company itself have issued their reports on and findings related to the incident, and legal settlements have been reached between Tesoro and the families of the seven workers who were killed. 

As the third anniversary of the event is rapidly nearing, we note with growing concern that the one major report still outstanding is the one being conducted by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.  We are also very dismayed by reports that the Board has redirected personnel and resources from this investigation in order to work on other, more recent accidents and incidents. 

Needless to say, we, the families and coworkers of the workers who lost their lives, and many others are very interested in the Board’s findings. As you know, Washington state contains a number of refineries that would benefit from any significant safety suggestions or potential hazards that the Board addresses.  The families of the victims of this terrible accident deserve to know that their government’s investigatory and regulatory entities are doing everything they can to prevent future tragedies from occurring.  The families of refinery employees throughout the country deserve that same knowledge.  We are concerned that the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s delay in providing a final report is hindering that goal.

We ask that you immediately update us in writing on the status of the Board’s report, and urge you to complete this investigation as soon as possible.  Our constituents must not wait any longer to get the information they deserve.

Sincerely,

Patty Murray
US Senator

Maria Cantwell
US Senator


Rick Larsen
US Representative

Jim McDermott
US Representative

Adam Smith
US Representative

Suzan DelBene
US Representative