"A crusading oil patch lawyer calls the American refinery industry an 'under-regulated cesspool.' A member of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board is more polite, describing a mismatch between well-heeled oil companies and under-qualified government regulators."
"Reid Porter, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, sees it the opposite way: 'This is already one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country.'
In fact, a Chronicle investigation launched after the Aug. 6 fire that destroyed part of Chevron's Richmond plant and sent thousands of residents to hospital emergency rooms found that refinery oversight is riddled with gaps. Porter's industry group plays a major role in what critics say is a self-regulating system for refineries."