The spectacular oil fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond California, was still burning as cadres of lawyers blanketed the surrounding communities.   Wherever plumes of smoke drifted, you could find a lawyer knocking on doors and handing out cards.

As I watched the spectacle on nationwide TV and web news, it brought me back to the time when a minor bus accident occurred in San Francisco. The bus with no more than 15 passengers on it had a minor collision with a car.  As the passengers exited the disabled bus, they mingled with pedestrians on the sidewalk.  Pretty soon ambulances were dispatched to the scene and over 40 bus “passengers” were taken to local hospitals with assorted neck and back pains.

To be sure, each one of those “passengers” received some sort of settlement from the taxpayers of San Francisco, along with their lawyers.

The Northern California oil refinery at Richmond California has been in its present location for more than 100 years.  Perched next to the San Francisco Bay, it is in an excellent location to receive crude oil from ocean tankers where it can refine the oil into different blends of fuels to be used by consumers.   It is the largest refinery of its kind in this part of California and serves the needs of millions of cars, trucks and airplanes

When the refinery was first built,  it was in an isolated, rural location.  But over the past hundred years San Francisco’s urban sprawl has spread its tentacles around the facility. 

But this is just like the story of airports that get built on the outskirts of town eventually getting encased in urban sprawl.  When the occasional accident happens, there are calls for more stringent rules,  the inevitable call for the airport to be shut down, or moved and the prolific lawsuits filed.

But there hasn’t been a new oil refinery built in the United States for the past 30 years.  Environmental lawsuits, not in my back yard mentalities and a PR campaign by the far left to demonize fossil fuels have made it extremely difficult to build new ones.  So America has been at the mercy of fewer refineries to fulfill its growing energy needs and at the mercy of what a lack of competition does for price at the pump.

The entitlement mentality refuses to acknowledge self responsibility; it is a victim mentality looking for a cause and is aided and abetted by those who feed off of it.

Already the Chevron Refinery has set up a facility to process claims by those who say they were injured by the effects of the fire.  But the caveat is that the “victims” have to show they lost work because of the fire or show an expense from a Dr., pharmacy, or some other legitimate loss.

Since air testing showed levels to be healthy in 8 different samples, it is hard to fathom what sort of claims will be made. There was a shelter in place warning sent out to the community immediately when the fire first started. Perhaps some folks in the community lost work hrs. due to that.  No structures outside of the refinery were burned, or damaged, except with the exception of some soot that will have to be cleaned off.  So what possible claims will these pods of lawyers be able to conjure up?

The oil refinery is certainly a fat, juicy, target. The left would love to see it shut down and trial lawyers would love to get a piece of it.  But it is a major employer in the community and the economy of the whole west coast relies on its products.

What is a sure bet though, is hundreds, perhaps thousands of lawsuits will be filed against the refinery and this will cost the company millions in lawyer fees to defend, not to mention the costs if they lose or settle out of court. 

No matter what the eventual costs of this fire, the loser in this legal debacle will be the end consumer who pays for fuel in his gas tank, or buys products in the store that uses trucks to transport those goods.

To a normal person who looks at this from a purely logical point of view…Let the lawsuits emanate from those who were living in the area prior to the construction of the oil refinery.  They truly are the ones who wouldn't know there was going to be an oil refinery in the neighborhood they were living in.

There is no reason to be living near an oil refinery to not know they smell and have an occasional fire from time to time.  That is a fact,  if you don't like it, move.

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