Flaring occurs at Martinez refinery Wednesday, day after suit filed

The oil refinery in Martinez experienced flaring on Wednesday, the company said on social media.  

In a statement on their Facebook page, the Martinez Refining Company called flaring an "essential" part of safety for the plant's systems.  

The company said that all appropriate agencies have been notified. 

This comes less than 48 hours after a class action lawsuit was filed against the refinery alleging it created a public nuisance by releasing chemicals into the community.. 

The plaintiffs are being represented by Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP, which released a statement Wednesday night about the flaring.  

"We filed our lawsuit to stop repeated releases of unnecessary pollution from this refinery," wrote Blair Kittle, lead attorney at the firm. "Hearing that the refinery is flaring just a day after we filed is extremely concerning and highlights the need for the county and state to step in immediately and take control of the refinery."  

Kittle further added that the FBI has allegedly been investigating the refinery "for months." 

"If the county or state can't do anything about this, the Feds will," he wrote.  

On Thanksgiving night in 2022, the refinery released an estimated 20 to 24 tons of "spent catalyst" into the surrounding community until the following morning, when residents found their yards and vehicles covered in metallic dust. 

The refinery failed to alert the county health department and the community warning system, both of which are legally mandated within 15 minutes of a release.