Q1. What is Defense Fuel Support Point (DFSP) San Pedro, and why is it important?
A1. DFSP San Pedro, in operation since 1943, provides a strategic location in the Pacific region for sourcing of fuel for Navy ships. The facility has been used to receive, store, and distribute marine and jet fuels for military use in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Other than the Navy fuel pier in San Diego, it is the only Navy-owned facility potentially capable of ship fueling in the region. The Proposed Action would help the Navy to ensure the availability of fuel supplies to Pacific Fleet vessels during emergencies or contingency scenarios. The DFSP San Pedro is a Special Area within the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach area of responsibility.
Q2. When would commercial and Naval fueling operations resume at the Marine and Main terminals?
A2. A decision on whether to move forward with the Proposed Action will not be made until completion of environmental documentation, which is currently scheduled for Spring 2020. If a decision is made to move forward with the Proposed Action, the Navy would proceed with lease award and execution, the timeline for which can vary greatly. Furthermore, rehabilitation of DFSP San Pedro facilities and equipment to the most recent safety standards would need to occur before operations could resume.
Q3. How much would this project cost and where would the money come from?
A3. When defining this project as the potential commercial outlease, most project costs will be borne by the commercial lessee. Because of this, the full extent of the costs will not be known until the commercial outlease is awarded. The lessee would assume all expenses required to rehabilitate, operate, and maintain the complex.
Q4. Why can’t the Navy just pay more money and keep fueling operations in-house?
A4. Resumption of fueling operations for exclusive Navy use is not economically sustainable for the Navy or the taxpayer. The Navy transferred this site to the federal government’s fuels subject matter expert, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), in the 1980 timeframe for similar reasons. This allowed the DLA to operate the complex for several federal agencies under a cost-effective, cost-sharing arrangement. The Navy’s current funding levels would not allow the Navy to sustain and operate the complex for the next twenty-five years. The economy of scale from commercial and military fueling operations is what would allow the commercial outlease initiative to succeed.
Q5. Parts of the Main Terminal are located in an “Earthquake Rupture Zone” with surrounding land identified by USGS as “Landslide and Liquefaction Areas.” Wouldn’t it be extremely dangerous to have petroleum operations there?
A5. Prior to the design of site improvements for construction at the site, any lessee would be required to perform comprehensive engineering studies to identify the locations and characteristics of active faults and liquefaction zones. No storage tanks would be allowed across the surface of active faults. Authorities having jurisdiction, including the Navy as the landowner, would not approve plans for facilities if an undue hazard would be created. Design features and setbacks from identified active faults would help to mitigate geological factors impacting the DFSP property. Federal, state and local building codes associated with improvements near fault lines have been developed to provide maximum possible public safety near hazardous fault zones. For example, each catch basin would be required to hold 110% of the fuel capable of being stored in surrounding tanks. Tank safety systems such as emergency valves, control systems and piping would be required to be redundant.
Q6. How safe would operations be if they were run by a commercial contractor?
A6. The site would be as safe or safer than similar military or commercial operations. Most equipment would be new and all equipment would comply with the latest earthquake and other safety codes. Under the proposed commercial outlease, the lessee would operate the site under all federal, state and local requirements, with an additional level of Navy oversight.
Q7. Why can’t the Navy just use the many commercial ship fueling facilities already in the LA/Long Beach area?
A7. It would be difficult to secure commercial ship fueling facilities because federal law (specifically the Posse Comitatus Act) prevents military personnel from conducting security activities outside of federal property. In addition, the Navy requires Military Specification fuels (F-76 and JP-5 fuels), whereas most commercial ships require bunker fuel or low-sulfur gas oil that do not meet military specifications. Finally, commercial facility business plans change over time due to economic and policy reasons, and the Navy cannot rely upon the availability of local facilities over the long term. The Navy requires DFSP San Pedro to remain available and operational for immediate use at any time in the foreseeable future.
Q8 The Navy/Defense Logistics Agency already partially closed down the facility and permanently closed all underground storage tanks. Why can’t the Navy just move the entire operation somewhere else?
A8. The Navy requires additional fueling options in the Southwest region, beyond current fueling locations, for contingency and/or emergency use, and Pier 12 at the Port of Long Beach is the only additional Navy fueling asset available for potential use.
Q9. What is the Navy doing to protect the surrounding community and the environment?
A9. Proposed development under each alternative must avoid areas with known natural resources; disturbance would be limited to areas historically used for operations. The Proposed Action must allow for the maintenance and enhancement of habitat for the Palos Verdes blue butterfly and coastal California gnatcatcher. In addition, the Proposed Action would accommodate the ongoing Defense Logistics Agency and Navy site cleanup pursuant to both the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the Clean Water Act. Furthermore, all conditions that were required as part of recent Biological Opinions issued to DFSP San Pedro would still apply under the Proposed Action. In order to ensure the continued safety of the public and the environment, the commercial lessee would be required to implement all federal, state, and local regulatory requirements, including inspection, testing, and monitoring procedures as well as safety measures, at least as stringent as those that DFSP San Pedro was previously operating under.
Q10. What are the benefits of this project to the public?
A10. Safety would be improved by the refurbishment or new construction of equipment built to higher safety and seismic standards than previously available. Most costs of these upgrades would be borne by the commercial lessee and not the taxpayer.