CA State Senator seeks higher fines for illegal refinery emissions

Press Release from CA Senate District 3, Rep. Bill Dodd

Sen. Dodd seeks higher fines for illegal refinery emissions

Friday, February 16, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) introduced a new bill to help deter harmful emissions from oil refineries. The bill would increase fines for serious violations of emissions standards that sicken people or force shelter-in-place orders.

“There are already fines on the books for illegal refinery emissions, but the most common fine hasn’t been increased since Richard Nixon was in the White House,” said Senator Dodd. “When people are sickened by refinery emissions or forced to shelter-in-place, there should be stiffer penalties. My bill reinforces that oil companies should take proactive steps to avoid violations in the first place.”

Dodd’s bill, SB 1144, would triple existing fines for violations of emissions standards if the violations cause a health problem or impact over 25 people. Existing law doesn’t allow increased penalties for violations that injure nearby residents or for refineries with multiple violations. Currently, the maximum amount for the most common level of fines is $10,000 and hasn’t been adjusted since 1974.

Dodd’s bill would set the new fine at $30,000, and if refineries are found negligent, the amount would go up to $75,000 per day. In instances where a refinery fails to correct a known violation or intentionally violates standards, the violations would be even greater. For serial offenders with multiple serious violations within 36 months, the fines could be as much as $500,000 per day.

“Representing communities that house several refineries, I want to encourage the industry to be proactive in meeting their duty to neighboring residents,” said Senator Dodd. “This measure isn’t a silver bullet for addressing safety, but it certainly provides greater incentive to act responsibly.”

Senator Dodd’s district includes the majority of the Bay Area’s refineries. In September 2016, numerous Vallejo residents were sickened by a refinery incident that triggered over 1,500 complaints. The state’s Office of Emergency Services reported that area hospitals and medical facilities treated 120 patients for headaches, nausea, dizziness, and burning of the eyes, nose and throat. The Bay Area Air Quality Management issued a notice of violation to the refinery in Rodeo for that incident.

The funds from the fines in Dodd’s bill would be available to support more robust monitoring and enforcement. The bill is expected to come up for a committee vote next month.

Related imageSenator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa Counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at
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Trump, Not Record-Breaking Disasters, Dominated TV News Coverage of Climate Change in 2017

Repost from DesmogBlog

Trump, Not Record-Breaking Disasters, Dominated TV News Coverage of Climate Change in 2017

 By Farron Cousins • Monday, February 12, 2018 – 16:51
NOAA map showing 2017's 16 billion dollar climate and weather disasters
This map depicts the general location of the sixteen weather and climate disasters assessed to cause at least one billion dollars in direct damages during 2017. [CLICK MAP TO ENLARGE] Credit:, public domain
Extreme weather events in the United States seemed ever-present in the media during 2017, with historic wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and droughts receiving national coverage. What was less common, however, was major TV news networks making the connection between these kinds of billion-dollar disasters and climate change for their viewers. That’s despite scientific support confirming these links, and some experts even warning that such extreme events may be “the new normal.”

The conclusion about major network coverage of climate change comes from a new report by Media Matters for America.

This report found that the major news networks — ABCNBC, Fox, CBS, and PBS — spent a combined 260 minutes covering climate change in 2017 on their evening news and Sunday morning talk shows. The report does not include coverage from cable news outlets. While CBS and PBS spent more time on the issue than the rest of the networks, they were also the only ones to feature guests who outright denied the overwhelming scientific consensus around human-caused climate change.

For example, an October 10 edition of PBS NewsHour hosted notorious coal executive Bob Murray of Murray Coal, who made the claim that “I listen to 4,000 scientists … who tell me that mankind is not affecting climate change.” Murray’s interviewer did not question or correct his erroneous claims, and presented Murray’s position as one of two “sides” along with former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Climate Change and Trump

Up from a dismal 50 minutes of total coverage in 2016, last year’s TV news attention on climate change actually rarely discussed extreme weather events — or greenhouse gas emissions, advances in climate science, or much besides the Trump administration’s actions and statements. In fact, the networks only devoted a combined 12 total segments to discussing the link between extreme weather and climate change, and two of those segments were discussing the links between climate change and hurricanes.

The networks, combined, also had four segments on public health issues related to climate change, three on economics and climate change, and just two which discussed the national security issues associated with climate change. There is some overlap in the numbers, as some issues were discussed in the same segments.

Instead, the lion’s share of the climate-related coverage — 205 of the 260 total minutes — was spent talking about Donald Trump and his administration’s actions on climate change and environmental policies.

Of all the network broadcasts, PBS devoted more segments than any other network to the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, with CBS coming in a very close second. PBS spent far more airtime discussing the administration’s rollback of environmental protections than the other four networks combined. Notably, none of the networks devoted a single segment last year to covering the climate implications of the Dakota Access or Keystone XLpipelines, which climate activists have fought vigorously and on which Trump issued decisions last year.

The report also mentions that nearly one-third of the broadcasts that mentioned Trump’s infamous 2012 tweet calling climate change a Chinese “hoax” did not bother to refute the president’s claims.

Billion Dollar Disasters

According to estimates, 2017’s extreme weather and climate disasters in the United States cost the country more than $300 billion. Since 1980, there have been 219 weather and climate catastrophes that have carried a price tag of over $1 billion a piece, according to the government’s own calculations. Between the more than a thousand deaths from natural disasters in the United States last year (mostly due to Hurricane Maria) and the astronomical price tag, it is obvious that major network coverage could have gone far deeper in reporting the context and connections to climate change.

Mainstream media’s overall failure to mention climate change in the context of extreme weather events helps prevent the public from linking the two.

Climate change has far more impacts than just rising temperatures, and until broadcasters begin explaining its links to human impacts, environmental damage, and extreme weather, too many people will be left with only half of the story.

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Three excellent responses to the school shootings in Florida

Florida School Shooting – 14 Feb 2018

Editor – This simply can’t continue.   – R.S.

Florida school shooting: These lawmakers call for gun control … – USA Today

Feb 24, 2018 – Here are the lawmakers calling for gun control in the wake of Florida shooting. … Several lawmakers called for gun control on Wednesday, in the wake of a shooting that left at least 17 people dead at a Florida high school. … As for Florida’s own senators, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla …

Trump’s Budget Cuts Millions Of Dollars From Gun Background Check System … – Huffington Post

Feb 14, 2018 – This would “significantly undermine” efforts to keep firearms out of dangerous hands, gun control advocates say. … The National Rifle Association spent tens of millions of dollars helping to elect Donald Trump. … WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump’s newly unveiled budget would cut …

Seth Moulton says Trump should ‘get off his ass … – The Boston Globe

Feb 24, 2018 – US Representative Seth Moulton tweeted that President Trump should “get off his ass” when it comes to gun control after 17 people were killed in Florida.
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For safe and healthy communities…