Neighborhood leaders from southwest Carson accused City Council members Tuesday of subjecting residents to "environmental abuse" by not opposing a controversial project at the Fletcher Oil refinery.
Barbara Post, spokeswoman for project opponents, charged that council members are too close to industry and fail to heed neighborhood concerns.
Fletcher is building a $16-million vacuum distillation unit that will allow production of asphalt at the refinery, located between Figueroa and Main streets near the Harbor Freeway.
Post said Fletcher's conditional use permit, approved by the city in 1978, has expired and the project cannot proceed until an environmental impact report is updated.
"It certainly appears that someone really screwed this one up," Post said. "If you have any integrity, fix this one and fix it fairly."
She warned council members: "We can put you in office, and we can take you out."
Another resident, Shaaron MacLeod, said the project will subject homeowners to "environmental abuse" by increasing pollution and noise. "We are saying no more in our back yard."
In response, Councilwoman Vera Robles DeWitt volunteered to attend a South Coast Air Quality Management District meeting on May 31 to read a letter from the council questioning issuance of air quality permits for the project.
City Atty. Glenn Watson also softened his previous position that the city had no basis for requiring Fletcher to do an updated environmental impact report.
"Fletcher may have not used the permit within the time required by law," Watson said. "If it lapsed, then I would have to re-examine the question."