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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Governor Excludes Union from Refinery Task Force
By News Release @ 6:42 PM :: 6273 Views :: Energy

Perreira: Tesoro refinery closure will Mean Higher Prices, Energy Crunch

SA: Hawaii is unique among Pacific Island jurisdictions because it is self-sufficient in liquid fuels. The two refineries supply just about all of the state's needs. Because of this, gasoline and diesel prices are close to $1 per gallon lower than in other parts of the Pacific that use the U.S. dollar.

Residual fuel, the kind used by most of Hawaii's power plants and by ships that call at our ports, sells for about $90 per metric ton more than the general global price when it is imported into Pacific Island jurisdictions.

National security also could be affected. The U.S. Navy depends on Tesoro for about 70 percent of the fuel it uses in Hawaii. Is it really a good idea for our armed forces here to be depending on imported fuel that could be cut off in the event of a crisis?

All of this is important because if the Tesoro refinery closes, our state will have to import more than half of the petroleum products it uses. If that happens, prices are almost certain to rise to a rate much closer to those typical in Pacific Island locations where there are no refineries. No one is going to give Hawaii a discount over what nations and territories in the rest of the Pacific must pay.

Some people say natural gas will be the solution to our problems. But Hawaii does not have the gas terminals it would need to import this fuel. Our state's power plants will need years to get ready for gas….

Other people say that wind and geothermal energy will be enough, but these technologies are even many more years away.

This means that if Tesoro closes its doors, Hawaii will face an energy crunch, and it could take several years to recover.

read … Tesoro refinery closure will hurt our community

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USW Urges Governor Abercrombie to Include Union on Committee Examining Tesoro Refinery Closure in Kapolei, Hawaii

USW Represents Majority of Workers at Refinery

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 19, 2013 -- The United Steelworkers Union (USW) today called on Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie to include the USW on a committee being formed to examine the closure of Tesoro's Kapolei refinery and its impact on the state. The committee will also examine coordinating efforts to save the refinery and other issues related to Hawaii's economy.

"We believe that it would be a huge mistake for your administration to exclude the United Steelworkers from this process," wrote USW International Vice President Gary Beevers and USW District 12 Director Robert LaVenture.

The USW represents some 250 production and maintenance workers at the Kapolei refinery who are likely to lose their jobs if the facility is shut down.

"It doesn't make sense to exclude the USW on the governor's committee when we represent the majority of workers who will be affected by the refinery closure," Beevers said.

"Participation by the USW on the committee would be beneficial to Governor Abercrombie," LaVenture said. "Our union has shown it can partner with local, state and federal officials to save jobs and protect the local economy."

Last year the USW successfully partnered with local, state and federal officials on the East Coast to encourage Sunoco and ConocoPhillips to proactively sell their refineries, address regulatory issues in a sustainable way, and attract qualified buyers to operate two large refineries.

The USW also is willing to work with Governor Abercrombie on green energy solutions; however, refined petroleum products will remain an essential part of Hawaii's energy mix for years to come.

"Allowing this refinery to shut down only to create space for increased imports from less regulated refiners in India and Asia does nothing to address our shared concern for the environment. In fact, offshoring refining capacity will not only have a negative impact on the state's economy, it will dramatically increase the environmental impacts of oil consumption," Beevers and LaVenture wrote.

The USW awaits Governor Abercrombie's response and invitation to participate on the committee to examine the closure and coordinate the efforts to save the Kapolei refinery.

A copy of the letter is available HERE.

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has 850,000 members in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. The union represents workers employed in metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, atomic energy and the service sector.


(Editor’s Note: The only union Abercrombie included in the Task Force is Plumbers Local 675 which represents workers at numerous Solar Contractors.)

Governor Establishes Hawaii Refinery Task Force

News Release from Office of the Governor

HONOLULU –As promised in his 2013 State of the State address, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today established by executive order the Hawaii Refinery Task Force to assess the impacts of Tesoro’s announcement to close its Hawaii refinery.

“I am tasking this group to investigate the impacts of Tesoro’s impending closure on Hawaii’s fuel supply and economy to ensure a reliable and competitive fuels market,”said Gov. Abercrombie.

“The purpose of the task force is to identify strategies and actions that the state should consider to promote a smooth and stable transition to meet Hawaii’s energy needs as our fuels market evolves,”said Richard Lim, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, who will lead the task force. “It is essential that we begin the process of planning for a future fuels ecosystem that best serves our state.”

Comprised of 29 members from the public and private sectors, the task force is charged with presenting short-term findings and recommendations to the Governor within 60 days of a refinery closure. The task force must also submit an interim and final written report of its activities and recommendations to the Governor by Sept. 30, 2013, and the final day of the 2014 legislative session, respectively. 

View the executive order here:

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January, 2012: Abercrombie to Tesoro: Drop Dead

January, 2013: Tesoro Obeys Abercrombie, Drops Dead



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