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Task force formed to assess impact of refinery closure

By Alan Yonan Jr.

LAST UPDATED: 4:15 p.m. HST, Feb 19, 2013

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the formation of a 29-member task force to assess the impact of the impending closure of Tesoro’s Kapolei refinery on Hawaii’s fuel supply.

The panel also will consider a scenario under which both the Tesoro refinery and the state’s only other refinery, operated by Chevron, closes. Abercrombie issued an executive order authorizing the task force’s creation.

A bill in the State Legislature providing $145,000 to fund the task force passed third reading in the House Finance Committee today and was sent to the Senate for consideration.

Tesoro announced last month that it would close the underperforming refinery in April and convert the facility to an import, storage and distribution terminal. Tesoro said as many as 200 refinery workers would be laid off.

“Your committee finds that with the impending closure of the Tesoro Hawaii’s Kapolei refinery and the uncertain future of the Chevron refinery, the state must plan and prepare for changes in the state’s refining capacity. The task force will assist in this endeavor by advising the governor on issues relating to maintaining adequate and affordable fuel supplies to meet the state’s energy needs,” according to the bill.

Task force will include a wide range of members representing local government agencies, utilities, petroleum companies, labor unions and non-profits.

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