It was a LONG time coming, and thanks to the vision, hard work and persistence of Benicia activists and volunteers, Benicia now has a state-of-the-art air monitoring station just outside the Valero Benicia Refinery.
A culmination of the more than decade-long efforts of the Good Neighbor Steering Committee and a recently established and highly effective Governing Board, the Benicia Community Air Monitoring Program (BCAMP) was unveiled to the public in a webinar on March 3rd.
Benicia videographer Constance Beutel recorded the March 3 webinar, and has produced several options for you to view now (see below).
First, however, I am so proud of my friends, neighbors and all involved, and I want to offer profound thanks:
A HUGE THANK-YOU from the BenIndy!
Good Neighbor Steering Committee: Marilyn Bardet, Constance Beutel, Mary Frances Kelly Poh, Kathy Kerridge, Nancy Lund and attorney Dana Dean
BCAMP Board of Directors: Chair David Lindsay, Kathy Kerridge, Marilyn Bardet, Nancy Lund, C. Bart Sullivan
Argos Scientific Team, Don Gamiles, President and Founder
Ruszel Woodworks, accommodating and providing the site
Via a zoom webinar, attendees celebrated the official launch of the Benicia Community Air Monitoring Program (BCAMP), a non profit community run state of the art air monitoring system. This slightly edited (2 hour) video captures the historic launch of this critical community resource regarding air quality.
It’s almost time for the Benicia Community Air Monitoring webinar on March 3rd, 2022 at 7 pm. Please be sure to preregister by clicking on this link: webinar registration page—or use the QR code in the flyer (see below).
This air monitoring station has been in the works for years. Finally, we’ll be able to see what is in our air.
See you there!
The website provides real time and historical air quality data for the following pollutants: particulate matter, black carbon, sulfur dioxide, ozone, benzene, toluene, and xylene. A new hydrogen sulfide monitor will soon be added. The website also provides additional information including:
A map showing the location of the monitoring station relative to potential sources and current wind speed and direction.
A tab for “How to Report a Problem” with important links and phone numbers
A “Resource” tab that provides some background about BCAMP and Argos Scientific. Argos is the main contractor for BCAMP that provides the technical support for the instruments and data transfer to the website. This page also has links to relevant community organizations as well as local elected officials and regulators.
*BCAMP is a non-profit established for the benefit of the community to monitor ambient air quality in Benicia. BCAMP’s mission is to sample and measure local air in real time; report and archive raw data on the website; and provide education on health risks as related to air quality.
“This is a huge win for environmental justice communities who have been fighting for this rule for years as a matter of racial, environmental, and climate justice. Despite a widespread misinformation campaign by the refineries and their allies of exaggerated costs that threatened our communities with doomsday scenarios, the Board of Directors made an historic vote today on behalf of disproportionately impacted communities.”
“We look forward to Chevron and PBF doing the right thing and installing wet gas scrubbers that will dramatically clean up their pollution and create numerous jobs in the process, without further delays,”
In hearing testimony before the Air District Board on Wednesday, Benicia Mayor Steve Young urged approval of Rule 6-5. He pointed out that here in Benicia…
“…we have over a decade of experience of the value of the wet gas scrubbers. Valero installed a wet gas scrubber in 2010, and emissions data has shown a significant reduction in the overall emissions of criteria pollutants since it went online. Valero voluntarily addressed the problem of PM 2.5 emissions from their cat cracker by installing the wet gas scrubber. It is past time to do the right thing for clean air in the Bay Area. Please approve Rule 6-5”
After delaying the vote last month, the Air District Board voted this morning in favor of rule 6-5, the rule requiring refineries to clean up their air pollution.
This is a BIG deal and many activists have worked hard to make this happen. It’s been a years’ long coalition effort, but organizing works. The health and environmental justice arguments and dogged appeals to each board member (finally) paid off.
A big special thank you to our folks who stepped up to contact their representatives on the Board, and kudos to the coalition of community groups who put in years of effort. Huge gratitude to Communities for a Better Environment, Sunflower Alliance, APEN, and the health professionals from PSR and Climate Health Now. The headlines (Reuters) are already reading: Northern California requires oil refiners to slash air pollution — in which 350 Bay Area leader, Jan Kirsch, is quoted.
“I was there for the vote. Great victory for all involved. I will send a thank you to John Bauters from my esteemed home of Emeryville” — 350 Bay Area Leader
“The Air District Board’s decision to step up and fulfill the mandate of our regional Air District was necessary to protect lives and the health of our communities, particularly the already-disadvantaged communities in the path of the emissions monsters. We recognize that it took political courage to stand up to the refineries and other fossil fuel interests, who pulled out all the stops with an aggressive disinformation campaign as the decision neared. The community responded to this disinformation campaign robustly and with a focus on justice. That alone is a win for the Bay Area.
The win at the Air District is one that we embrace, and we welcome the eventual improvement in the air around the Bay Area. We are grateful to the large coalition of community organizations and individuals who spent many years collaborating and educating. We remain concerned that these common sense solutions that save lives and money still take so much work to enact, and are committed to continuing the work of improving air quality and phasing out fossil fuels to save lives and climate stability.”
— Nik, 350 Bay Area Staff
A well deserved celebration is in order today (YAY), and don’t forget to thank any/all representatives who voted YES in this historic vote.