Televangelist Pat Robertson would also like to be an oil mogul, but in this case, the powers that be haven’t been on his side. For three years, Robertson has been trying to reopen a dormant oil refinery in Santa Fe Spring, 16 miles outside of Los Angeles, under the auspices of an oil company he founded in 1998. The refinery’s nearest neighbors include a hospital, a home for the elderly, and an elementary school — and the town’s residents have vociferously opposed the reopening. Because the neighborhood is 70 percent Latino, some protesters have accused Robertson of environmental racism. Environmentalists won a recent round in the fight, when a federal judge ruled that reopening the plant would violate the Clean Air Act, which requires the installation of advanced pollution controls on new or reopened emissions sources. However, Robertson could have a friend in the Bush administration, which has suggested that it will ease environmental restrictions on refineries and other polluters.
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