Valero Energy Accident Risk Mitigation 2012
|Company||Valero Energy Corporation|
|Sector||Oil and Gas|
|Subject(s)||Water Pollution; Worker Safety|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Accident risk mitigation|
Resolved: Shareholders of Valero Energy Corporation (the “Company”) urge the Board of Directors (the “Board”) to prepare a report, within ninety days of the 2012 annual meeting of stockholders, at reasonable cost and excluding proprietary and personal information, on the steps the Company has taken to reduce the risk of accidents. The report should describe the Board’s oversight of process safety management, staffing levels, inspection and maintenance of refineries and other equipment.
The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in the largest and most costly human and environmental catastrophe in the history of the petroleum industry. Eleven workers were killed when the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded. This was not the first major accident for BP. In 2005, an explosion at BP’s refinery in Texas City, Texas, cost the lives of 15 workers, injured 170 others and resulted in the largest fines ever levied by the Occupational, Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) (“BP Faces Record Fine for ’05 Refinery Explosion,” New York Times, 10/30/2009).
BP’s accidents are not unique in the petroleum industry. For example, a 2010 explosion at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington, killed seven workers and resulted in more than six months of downtime at the 120,000 barrels per day refinery (“Tesoro Sees Anacortes at Planned Rates by mid-Nov.,” Reuters, 11/5/2010). The director of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry stated that “The bottom line is this incident, the explosion and these deaths were preventable,” and levied an initial penalty of $2.39 million (“State Fines Tesoro $2.4 Million in Deadly Refinery Blast,” Skagit Valley Herald, 10/4/2010).
We believe that OSHA’s national emphasis program for petroleum refineries has revealed an industry-wide pattern of non-compliance with safety regulations. In the first year of this program, inspections of 14 refineries exposed 1,517 violations, including 1,489 for process safety management, prompting OSHA’s director of enforcement to declare “The state of process safety management is frankly just horrible” (“Process Safety Violations at Refineries ‘Depressingly’ High, OSHA Official Says,” BNA Occupational Safety and Health Reporter, 8/27/2009).
Since October, 2006, OSHA has recorded a total of 59 safety violations at our Company, including 46 Process Safety Management violations. Twenty-seven of these Process Safety Management violations were cited as “serious” and 4 violations were classified as “repeat” violations. (http://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=314326091&id=314396938&id=312920226&id=312920192&id=311074058&id=311072169&id=311805519&id=309909828&id=312237456&id=310264221&id=310690086).
In our opinion, the cumulative effect of petroleum industry accidents, safety violation citations from federal and state authorities, and the public’s heightened concern for safety and environmental hazards in the petroleum industry represents a significant threat to our Company’s stock price performance. We believe that a report to shareholders on the steps our Company has taken to reduce the risk of accidents will provide transparency and increase investor confidence in our Company.