California plan would convert refinery into recreation spot

California

RICHMOND, CA – MARCH 03: A view of a Chevron refinery on March 3, 2015 in Richmond, California. U.S. gas prices have surged an average of 39 cents in the past 35 days as a result of the price of crude oil prices increases, scheduled seasonal refinery maintenance beginning and a labor dispute at a Tesoro refinery. It is predicted that the price of gas will continue to rise through March. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California State Parks announced plans for a massive recreational development on oil refinery property, although the company will not cease operations for another two years.

The proposal for the Phillips 66 Santa Maria refinery near Arroyo Grande hinges on whether the parks agency buys or leases the property, The Sacramento Bee reports.

The facility, which produces an average of about 44,500 barrels of crude oil per day and employs 140 people, announced plans to close in 2023.

The parks department wants to develop the land to “support recreational activities” for the nearby Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.

If the agency acquires the property, about 2.8 square miles (7.25 square kilometers) would be added to the nearly 5.5 square miles (14.24 square kilometers) the park already encompasses.

The department would need to wait until the property is remediated from any environmental damage before beginning construction.

Phillips 66 spokesperson Bernardo Fallas said the company was aware of the plan but had no comment.

The Santa Maria Refinery was built in 1955 by the Union Oil Co. of California. The facility was eventually purchased by ConocoPhillips Co., from which Phillips 66 was formed in 2011.

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