Refinery inspection bill protects 'trade secrets'

SACRAMENTO (AP) - The state Assembly has advanced legislation that would allow government regulators to monitor oil refinery shutdowns in response to a fire at Chevron's Richmond refinery in 2012.

It also would allow oil companies to designate the information as a "trade secret."

SB1300, by Democratic Sen. Loni Hancock of Berkeley, would protect information submitted to state officials from disclosure under the California Public Records Act.

The Assembly approved the bill on a 55-4 vote late Friday, sending it to the Senate.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, another Berkeley Democrat, told lawmakers the bill does not change existing public records laws.

But media groups that oppose it say SB1300 would allow an oil refinery to challenge the release of documents and take anyone requesting them to court and pay legal fees if they lose.


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