But supporters showed up too, including Dan Cameron, who spoke with pride about the company's history, work force and environmental and safety records.
"Simply said, we live here, we work here; we add value to the state of Utah's economy," said Cameron, retired manager of the refinery.
"We care and we are responsible stewards of our refinery. We are proud American workers who work for an American company that buys an American product, adds value to it and produces a finished product for American consumers."
State regulators signaled their "intent to approve" the expansion earlier this year after reviewing the refinery's plans in detail.
Tesoro is Utah's largest refinery, and like Holly's refinery in Woods Cross, it is updating its facilities to process greater volumes of two types of oil from the Uinta Basin, called black wax and yellow wax.
Tesoro says the modifications will yield an increase of 4,000 barrels a day at its 58,000-barrel-a-day facility. The company also says the changes "will not result in a significant emissions increase" and will even reduce sulfur emissions by nearly 8 percent, about 66 tons per year.
The biggest increase in emissions would be from volatile organic compounds, a key contributor in Utah's summer and winter pollution problems. VOCs, as they are called, would increase by nearly 16 percent, the company has reported.
State regulators say, under state law, they cannot force a reduction in emissions under this permit application, because the refinery would be operating well under its allowed pollution levels even with the equipment changes. In this round of review, regulators say they must only consider the equipment Tesoro is proposing to install over the next two years.
Meanwhile, Tesoro is one the 37 facility operators currently talking with regulators about ways to cut emissions as part of a particulate pollution plan required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before the year's end.
"Clearly, we need reductions from all [pollution] sources to meet these requirements," said Bryce Bird, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality.
To learn more:
P The Utah Division of Air Quality has posted information about the Tesoro application and how to weigh in on those plans during the public comment period that continues through April 23. › http://bit.ly/J9UBew